March 4, 2019 / 6:16 PM / 6 months ago

Democrats to push to reinstate repealed 'net neutrality' rules

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Democrats in the U.S. Congress plan to unveil legislation on Wednesday to reinstate “net neutrality” rules that were repealed by the Trump administration in December 2017, House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi said.

FILE PHOTO: Net neutrality advocates rally in front of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) ahead of Thursday's expected FCC vote repealing so-called net neutrality rules in Washington, U.S., December 13, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas/File Photo

Pelosi told lawmakers in a letter that House Democrats, who won control of the chamber in the November 2018 elections, would work with their colleagues in the U.S. Senate to pass the “Save The Internet Act.”

The text of the proposed legislation has not been released.

The Federal Communications Commission repealed the rules that bar providers from blocking or slowing internet content or offering paid “fast lanes.” The repeal was a win for providers like Comcast Corp, AT&T Inc and Verizon Communications Inc, but was opposed by internet companies like Facebook Inc, Amazon.com Inc and Alphabet Inc.

The Senate, which is controlled by Republicans, voted in May 2018 to reinstate the net neutrality rules, but the House did not take up the issue before Congress adjourned last year.

A U.S. federal appeals court last month held lengthy oral arguments in a legal challenge to the FCC’s decision to repeal the net neutrality rules.

In its 2017 decision, the Republican-led FCC voted 3-2 along party lines to reverse the net neutrality rules. The agency gave providers sweeping power to recast how users access the internet but said they must disclose changes in users’ internet access.

A spokeswoman for FCC chairman Ajit Pai did not immediately comment on Monday.

A group of 22 state attorneys general and the District of Columbia asked the appeals court to reinstate the Obama-era internet rules and to block the FCC’s effort to pre-empt states from imposing their own rules guaranteeing an open internet.

Major providers say they have not made any changes in how Americans access the internet since the repeal.

In October, California agreed not to enforce its own state net neutrality law until the appeals court’s decision on the 2017 repeal, and any potential review by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Paul Simao

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