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Regulation

FCC Chairman Cheers as Congress Fails to Bring Back Net Neutrality Rules

FCC chairman Ajit Pai applauded a failed bid by Congress to overturn last year's rollback of network neutrality rules that were established in 2015 under then-FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler.

"I'm pleased that a strong bipartisan majority of the U.S. House of Representatives declined to reinstate heavy-handed Internet regulation," Pai said in a statement issued on Wednesday, claiming that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) 's "light touch-approach is working."

"They did the right thing -- especially considering the positive results for American consumers since the adoption of the Restoring Internet Freedom Order," Pai added.

The Senate passed a bill last May to reinstate the rules established in 2015 during the Obama administration, but the US House of Representatives fell short of the votes needed to put the Congressional Review Act into effect and scuttle the FCC's 2017 Restoring Internet Freedom order before Congress adjourned. According to Ars Technica, 182 representatives, mostly Democrats, supported the bill, but 218 votes were needed. In the meantime, individual states, including California, have been pursuing rules of their own. (See FCC Nixes Net Neutrality Rules on June 11 and California Streamin': State Gets Tough on Net Neutrality .)

Fight for the Future, a group that wants the old rules reinstated and has advocated for the Congressional Review Act, said it won't be standing down even as the clock ran on sitting lawmakers… and had some harsh words for Congress.

"We just shined a giant spotlight on corruption in Congress," Evan Greer, deputy director for Fight for the Future, said in a statement. "Every single lawmaker who voted against the CRA in the Senate or failed to sign on to the discharge petition in the House has exposed themselves as industry puppets … We'll keep fighting in the states, in the courts, and in Congress."

A Mozilla-led group filed its petition against the FCC rules rollback last August with the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Oral arguments for that case are scheduled for February 1.

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— Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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