The battle over net neutrality isn’t over yet.
The U.S. Senate is voting on Wednesday on whether to rollback the Federal Communications Commission’s repeal of net neutrality. Several Democratic senators pushed for the vote using the Congressional Review Act — allowing Congress to thwart agency regulations. The FCC struck down Obama-era net neutrality rules last December, with the move spearheaded by Ajit Pai, President Trump’s appointed chairman.
The 49 Democratic senators will need help on Wednesday, though, from at least one more Republican. To force the review to head to the House of Representatives, the Democrats will need 51 votes. The Dems have already added Sen. Susan Collins, a Republican from Maine, to join their side.
If you’re dying to watch some exciting Congressional action, you’re in luck: The vote is being broadcast live on C-SPAN here. The vote will happen around 3 p.m. ET/noon PT today, but the Senate is already underway discussing it.
And if you’re still confused by this whole net neutrality debate thing, we’ve got you covered here.
In brief: The FCC’s rollback struck a blow to 2015’s “Open Internet” ruling, which classified broadband providers as “common carriers” — essentially making them public utilities. This designation barred ISPs from blocking access to particular sites and apps, as well as creating paid “fast lanes” to reach sites. Under the FCC’s new rules, companies like Verizon — which owns Yahoo — would be allowed to slow down or block access to Google, as long as it discloses its decision. Opponents of Pai’s decision argue this gives too much power to a select few ISPs and hurts consumers, who could see price hikes; those in favor say the Federal Trade Commission, which the FCC will cede power to, will be able to tackle companies that act anti-competitively. Pai has also argued the 2015 rules have stymied internet investment.
Even if the Democrats prevail on Wednesday, they’ve still got their work cut out for them. Not only would the House of Representatives have to vote to undo the FCC’s ruling, President Trump would also have to support blocking the new rules.