Policy & Advocacy

Restoring Net Neutrality

Open Access   ·   Open Data   ·   Open Education

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recently voted to reverse the Open Internet Order, which provided essential protections ensuring net neutrality. Because a free and open internet is an essential foundation for all of SPARC’s policy areas—Open Access, Open Data, and Open Education—we strongly oppose the FCC’s reversal of the Open Internet Order.

A recent development has opened the door for the Open Internet Order to be reinstated. The Senate is considering using the Congressional Review Act, a mechanism that gives Congress the ability to use a simple majority vote in each chamber to reverse a change in a federal regulation within 60 days of the regulation being published in the Federal Register.

As of January 16th, the Washington Post reported that 50 senators have indicated that they will vote in favor of this measure, meaning only one additional vote is needed to secure a majority in that chamber. If the full Senate ultimately votes in favor of this action, it will then move on to the House of Representatives for their consideration.

On February 2nd, the US Senate received official notice from the FCC about its decision to repeal net neutrality protections. Once the House receives notice and the change is published in the Federal Register, Congress will have 60 days to use the Congressional Review Act to overturn the FCC’s decision and reinstate net neutrality protections.

SPARC encourages individuals to call Congress and urge their members to support using the Congressional Review Act to save the Open Internet Order and reinstate critical net neutrality protections.

Our colleagues at the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) have provided  a convenient tool to make this process simple at  https://act.eff.org/action/tell-congress-to-reinstate-the-open-internet-order

If this measure passes both houses of Congress, it will still require the President’s signature, an outcome that is far from certain. However, taking action now sends an important signal to Congress that the fight for net neutrality is heating up, and will play an important role in the pending 2018 midterm elections.

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