Writers Guild of America, East Says Net Neutrality is ‘More Essential Than Ever’

Senate’s vote to block new FCC rules gets support from WGAE

The Writers Guild of America, East is praising the U.S. Senate for its efforts to thwart the Federal Communications Commission’s attempt to rollback current net neutrality rules, saying on Thursday it is “more essential than ever” in the age of media consolidation.

Democratic Senators gained critical Republican votes in passing a resolution on Wednesday, blocking the FCC from undoing 2015’s “Open Internet” ruling, which bars internet companies from throttling or blocking access to certain sites.

“Yesterday, a resolution to restore net neutrality was passed by the U.S. Senate with support from both Democrats and Republicans. FCC Chairman Ajit Pia’s cynical attempt to kill net neutrality was rejected across party lines,” said the WGAE in a statement. “We will continue to push for the full reinstatement of net neutrality, which is supported by the large majority of Americans.”

The guild added: “Media companies continue to grow – Sinclair is on a path to owning the airwaves across the country, AT&T and Time Warner press to consolidate, and Disney and Fox seek to merge. This consolidation empowers the media behemoths to tighten their grip on the flow of information, making it more essential than ever that we preserve an open and free internet.”

The FCC — spearheaded by Chairman Ajit Pai — voted in December to end Obama-era regulations safeguarding net neutrality. Under the FCC’s new rules, which were set to go into effect on June 11, internet providers would be able to slow down access to certain sites, as long as they report it.

“It’s disappointing that Senate Democrats forced this resolution through by a narrow margin.  But ultimately, I’m confident that their effort to reinstate heavy-handed government regulation of the Internet will fail,” said Chairman Pai in a statement on Wednesday. “The Internet was free and open before 2015, when the prior FCC buckled to political pressure from the White House and imposed utility-style regulation on the Internet.  And it will continue to be free and open once the Restoring Internet Freedom Order takes effect on June 11.”

The resolution now heads to the House of Representatives, where Democrats need 25 GOP members to cross party lines to continue blocking the FCC’s new rules. If the resolution makes its way through the House, President Trump would then have the opportunity to veto.