The future of net neutrality in Trump’s America

Author: Brian Fung
Coverage Type: reporting
USA, United States

Now that President donald Trump has signed legislation repealing landmark federal privacy protections for Internet users, many in Washington are trying to decipher what the move could mean for network neutrality.

President Trump's role in repealing the rules is likely to be small; the real center of gravity lies outside the White House. Congress could intervene on net neutrality by writing a bill that repeals and replaces the FCC policy. But a legislative deal does not appear imminent. Republicans, lacking a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate, need some Democratic support for any such bill. And Democrats have declined to play ball unless the legislation preserves the FCC's ability to regulate Internet providers like legacy telephone companies, something Republicans have strongly resisted. Despite a federal court ruling upholding the FCC rules in the summer of 2016, industry advocates are still pushing to have the regulations overturned by a fresh judicial hearing. If the US Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit agrees to rehear the net neutrality case — a decision that could be announced this spring — Internet providers will have another shot at knocking down the rules. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai could make things even easier for the industry by not defending the suit, something he has already done in at least one separate case involving low-cost broadband access. If the court rules against the FCC, the regulations are as good as dead.



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