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Senators urge the FCC to resurrect net neutrality

Senators urge the FCC to resurrect net neutrality

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A group of senators have issued an open letter urging the Federal Communications Commission to quickly reinstate net neutrality rules. The FCC's protections on net neutrality were struck down by a federal court last month due to what was effectively an issue with their wording — not their intentions — allowing internet providers to begin discriminating between different content sent over their networks. The senators don't suggest how the FCC go about implementing new rules, but in a rebuke of its major folly, they write that the new rules "must stand on strong legal footing to withstand judicial scrutiny."

"We urge you to quickly adopt enforceable rules."

Senators Al Franken, Ron Wyden, Jeff Merkley, Ed Markey, and Richard Blumenthal have signed the letter, which was sent to FCC chair Tom Wheeler on Monday. "We are writing to urge you to move quickly to protect internet users and the open internet," the letter reads. The senators are concerned that the absence of net neutrality protections could threaten opportunities for business and speech both nationally and in their home states. "Consumers, entrepreneurs, and innovators deserve to know their right to view or use the content and services of their choice online will be protected," the letter concludes.

Since the FCC's Open Internet rules were struck down last month, both Wheeler and President Obama have reiterated their commitment to net neutrality, but no decisive action has been taken yet. As the senators note, there's still plenty of room for Wheeler and the FCC to take action: the court has no qualms with the intent of the FCC's net neutrality rules — just with their previous, flimsy application. There's already been some sign that the FCC might move to apply a more limited set of regulations on internet providers in the short-term, as it may be able to do so without a battle. Reinstating the full force of the Open Internet rules could be a harder task, but the commission may have more incentive to get to work with prominent senators pushing for action.