Congress, states weigh action

after net neutrality repeal

BOSTON (AP) — Support was growing in the U.S. Senate for a measure that would undo the Federal Communications Commission’s repeal of net neutrality rules, but votes were still lacking in the House, according to a leading congressional critic of the new federal policy.

Democratic Sen. Edward Markey testified on videotape during a hearing held Tuesday at the Massachusetts Statehouse by a legislative committee examining the potential consequences of the December order by the FCC that repealed the Obama-era net neutrality rules.

Those regulations barred internet providers like Comcast, AT&T and Verizon from slowing or blocking customer access to apps and sites, or from favoring their own sites and apps.

While commission members have argued the repeal is needed to ensure the government maintains a “light touch” in its oversight of the industry, and large broadband providers have pledged the internet experience won’t change, critics like Markey contend it will harm consumers and businesses that rely heavily on broadband access for their products and customers.

“We are only one vote away from securing a victory in the Senate, but the votes are not there so far in the House of Representatives,” to overturn net-neutrality repeal, the Massachusetts Democrat said.

Markey plans to introduce a resolution in the Senate, utilizing a federal law known as the Congressional Review Act to undo the FCC action.

The Special Senate Committee on Net Neutrality and Consumer Protection was formed by Democratic legislative leaders to recommend potential state actions to counter the new federal rules.