Has the US Senate approved the death of net neutrality?

Jason McGee-Abe
Published on:

US Senate approves Brendan Carr and Jessica Rosenworcel to serve at the FCC, meaning the telecoms watchdog now has a full house of five commissioners as net neutrality vote looms

net neutrality

In May, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) officially began to undo Obama-era regulations on internet service providers (ISPs), which were passed in 2015. In a 2-1 vote along party lines, the FCC’s Republicans voted to propose a new review of the rules, with the goal of loosening the regulations on the industry.

Senators okayed Democrat Rosenworcel for a term through to 2020 but only allowed Republican Carr to hold office until June 2018 at the telecommunications watchdog.

Carr was nominated by president Donald Trump in June and is a long-time associate of FCC chairman Ajit Pai, having served as his personal legal advisor for three years before being appointed as the regulator's general counsel in January.

His appointment is thought to be the swing vote on chairman Ajit Pai’s proposal to dismantle tough net neutrality rules for online traffic, plans which Trump backs.Commenting on the appointments, FCC chairman Ajit Pai said: “I congratulate Brendan and Jessica on their confirmations. As I know from working with each of them for years, they have distinguished records of public service and will be valuable assets to the FCC in the years to come. Their experience at the FCC makes them particularly well-suited to hit the ground running. I’m pleased that the FCC will once again be at full strength and look forward to collaborating to close the digital divide, promote innovation, protect consumers, and improve the agency’s operations.”

Pai will himself wait until Autumn to find out whether he’ll remain at the FCC past December 2018.