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Senate Defeats Bill That Would Have Limited FCC Control Over Internet

Capitol Building Washington D.C. Exterior - H 2011
Karen Bleier/AFP/Getty Images

Net Neutrality rules will now go into effect on Nov. 20 as planned.

It was close but the U.S. Senate has voted down a bill that would have killed the FCC effort to exercise control over the Internet -- the so-called Net Neutrality rules -- which is a victory for the White House and a defeat for conservatives who believe any rules of the road online may inhibit free enterprise.

The bill was defeated by three votes.

This means the FCC rules will go into effect November 20 as planned, unless there is a legal challenge by Verizon or another Telco or cable company, all of whom lobbied hard to kill the new rules.

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A similar bill had passed the House of Representatives, but it would not have become law even if the Senate passed it as well. That is because President Obama had said he would veto any such bill.

The supporters say the FCC needs to have oversight of the Internet much as it does broadcast and telephone businesses in order to ensure that gate keepers (Telco’s, cable companies) cannot slow down or stop certain kinds of use whether to charge more for use or other reasons.

Opponents say the Internet has fostered great growth and the FCC will only create a bureaucracy that will inhibit that kind of entrepreneurial activity.