* Democrats beat Republican attempt to kill Net rules
* Resolution to disapprove blocked in 52-46 vote
By Jasmin Melvin
WASHINGTON, Nov 10 New U.S. Internet traffic
rules cleared a hurdle on Thursday, surviving an attempt by the
U.S. Senate to block them from taking effect later in the
President Barack Obama's fellow Democrats in the Senate
blocked a Republican-backed resolution to disapprove of the
Federal Communications Commission's rules on "net neutrality."
The vote was 52-46 against the resolution.
Adopted by a divided FCC last December, the rules forbid
broadband providers from blocking legal content while leaving
flexibility for providers to manage their networks.
The rules still face a court challenge. Lawsuits by Verizon
Communications Inc and others have been consolidated
before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia
The Senate resolution was championed by Kay Bailey
Hutchinson, the top Republican on the Senate Commerce
Committee, and had 42 co-sponsors, all Republican. A similar
measure passed the Republican-led House of Representatives in
Regulations to mandate the neutrality of the Internet -- in
terms of content, sites, platforms and types of equipment that
may be attached -- have been the subject of fierce debate for
the last 10 years.
The dispute pits content providers, who seek protection
against the blocking or degrading of their services, against
Internet service providers who often supply rival content and
fear their networks could be overwhelmed.
The FCC's rules allow consumers and entrepreneurs to
utilize the Internet "without having to ask permission from
their broadband provider," Democratic Senator Jay Rockefeller,
chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, said on Wednesday.
Backers of net neutrality say big providers could otherwise
use their gatekeeper role to discriminate against competitors.
But Republicans said the rules were an unprecedented power
grab by the FCC.
Hutchinson said the rules were yet another example of the
"Obama administration's relentless imposition of new and
destructive regulations... (that) are freezing our economy."
The FCC rules are scheduled to go into effect on Nov. 20.