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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer unveil the Save the Internet Act earlier in March. Photo by AP.

Behind Washington’s Net Neutrality Debate: Deep Pockets

By  |  March 16, 2019 7:46 AM PDT
Photo: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer unveil the Save the Internet Act earlier in March. Photo by AP.

Sometime in the next two weeks, a billboard is set to pop up at a busy intersection in downtown Phoenix accusing Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema of “corruption.” Her supposed crime: she doesn’t support the “Save The Internet Act,” a bill that would codify into law the Net Neutrality rules revoked by the Trump administration’s Federal Communications Commission in 2017. She’s in fact the only Democratic member of the Senate who doesn’t support the bill, according to Evan Greer, deputy director of the internet activist group responsible for the billboard.

The scorched earth tactic is the latest twist in the decade-long battle over Net Neutrality rules that come and go as the White House—and therefore control of the FCC—changes hands. Every time FCC rules change, aggrieved companies on one side or other challenge the policy in federal court. The end result: seemingly permanent uncertainty over rules meant to ensure that the companies providing access to the Internet—Comcast, Charter, Verizon and AT&T—don’t use their position to undermine internet competition and freedom of speech.

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