Congress has until December 10th to save Net Neutrality through a process known as the Congressional Review Act.
A year ago, the Federal Communications Commission reversed the policy called “Net Neutrality,” which classifies internet providers as “common carriers” and comes with a host of related consumer protections. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai took a particular glee in overturning those protections.
Earlier this year, the Senate narrowly voted to reverse the FCC’s decision, but the House of Representatives has not voted on the matter. In order to prevent the dismantling of the policy, the House has to act before December 10th.
Net Neutrality is overwhelmingly popular. And advocacy groups took to the streets Thursday to try and compel the lame-duck House to act before that deadline passes.
I hope you’ll consider joining today’s #NetNeutrality Day of Action and help us build momentum in the push to restore #NetNeutrality rules. The House needs to vote ASAP. @IndivisibleTeam #Indivisible pic.twitter.com/tUyCtiZ8ay
— Indivisible Illinois (@IndivisibleIL) November 30, 2018
Earlier this year, I proudly joined my Senate colleagues in voting to roll back the Trump administration's attack on #netneutrality
The House has until Dec. 10th to do the same and I strongly urge my congressional colleagues to join us in preserving a free and open internet. pic.twitter.com/3tIVbd9iBc
— Senator Tina Smith (@SenTinaSmith) November 29, 2018
“Congress has until the end of this session to reverse Ajit Pai’s net neutrality repeal—afterwards, it gets way harder to restore protections against blocking, throttling, and new fees,” said advocacy groups Fight for the Future and Demand Progress. “So we’re bringing together tech companies, small businesses, and Internet users for an epic push on November 29th to pressure lawmakers into signing the Congressional Review Act resolution to restore net neutrality before it expires.”
The groups also hope to get Americans to sign this open letter to Congress, strongly encouraging Congress to act before the deadline.
“Poll after poll shows that the overwhelming majority of people from across the political spectrum support strong protections against blocking, throttling, and paid prioritization of Internet content. In divided times, this is one of the few things we all agree on,” says the letter.
Signatories of the letter include Etsy, Tumblr, Postmates, Sonos, Foursquare, Namecheap, Private Internet Access, Startpage.com, Boing Boing, and many individuals.
Americans don’t trust monopolistic corporate interests, and don’t think very highly of Internet Service Providers in particular. They also flipped the House in November, picking up 40 seats. It is eminently clear that Americans want Net Neutrality, and that if the deadline was January 10th and not December 10th, there is little doubt open internet protections would be saved.
But it seems unlikely that the lame-duck House will follow the Senate’s lead and protect the open internet before December 10th.
Katelyn Kivel is a contributing editor and senior legal reporter for Grit Post in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Follow her on Twitter @KatelynKivel.