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Mozilla, Reddit, and Vimeo urge FCC to bring back net neutrality

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But the FCC has to wait for another commissioner to be confirmed

Image: Alex Castro / The Verge

Tech companies like Mozilla, Reddit, and Vimeo called on the Federal Communications Commission Friday to reinstate the net neutrality rules repealed by the Trump administration.

In a letter to FCC Acting Chair Jessica Rosenworcel on Friday, internet companies Dropbox, Eventbrite, Reddit, Wikimedia, and Vimeo joined onto a letter led by Mozilla urging the agency to immediately bring back net neutrality once a third Democrat to the commission, nominated by President Joe Biden, is confirmed.

“By using its authority to restore net neutrality at the federal level, the FCC can help protect families and businesses across the country that rely on high-speed broadband access and help spark our recovery,” the companies wrote.

Net neutrality is the idea that internet service providers, like AT&T and Verizon, should treat all internet traffic equally, codified by specific regulations against blocking, throttling, or prioritizing any specific content or traffic. The FCC first implemented net neutrality during the Obama administration, classifying ISPs as “common carriers” under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934, but in 2017, that order was reversed.

With Democrats in control of Congress and the White House, net neutrality advocates are optimistic that their long-fought internet rules will return. “While there are many challenges that need to be resolved to fix the internet, reinstating net neutrality is a crucial down payment on the much broader internet reform that we need,” the companies wrote in their Friday letter to Rosenworcel. “There is no reason to further delay its reinstatement once the FCC is in working order.”

Even if the FCC does’t move to reinstate net neutrality on its own, lawmakers are considering their own legislative remedies. Earlier this year, Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) announced that he would be introducing a measure to bring back net neutrality in the upcoming “weeks.” Markey’s previous efforts to codify the rules into law failed, but he could see some success now that Democrats control the Senate.