It looks like Tuesday’s election ended the likelihood of any network neutrality legislation getting through Congress.
Before Tuesday’s midterm elections, there were 95 House and Senate candidates who pledged support for Net neutrality, a bill that would force Internet providers to not charge users more for certain kinds of Web content.
All of them lost — and that could mean the contentious proposal may now be all but dead.
Network neutrality bills were introduced in Congress in 2006 and 2008, but went nowhere. Although the issue picked up some steam in the spring after the D.C. Court of Appeals ruled that the Federal Communications Commission would need further congressional authorization to regulate broadband, Still, alongside calls to pass net neutrality came pushback from free-market oriented legislators, who sponsored bills that would specifically keep the FCC’s eager hands off of broadband.
The FCC still has the reclassification card to play, and such a move could end up part of a broader White House strategy to use of executive powers to enact regulations that a more Jeffersonian Congress would oppose.
It’s also worth noting that the proposals for limiting FCC reach were reactive to calls for greater broadband regulation. With the loss of the Democratic majorty in the House may come the loss of momentum for specific regulatory countermeasures, It may come down to how activist the FCC decides to be.