Virginia Lawmakers Weigh In On Net Neutrality Debate

May 17, 2018

Credit Marcie Casas / Creative Commons

Net neutrality has become one of the hottest issues in Washington, and the debate is likely to come to a campaign trail near you.

Should broadband companies be able to block content or slow down websites? Or are rules aimed at preventing that burdensome regulations? That was a debate in the United States Senate this week, where Democrat Tim Kaine voted with the majority of senators to restore the Obama-era net neutrality rules that President Trump wants to overturn.

“Individuals don’t want to have the big ISPs in charge of their content. This is particularly important for students, and it’s particularly important for folks in rural communities that often have limited options.”

The resolution approved this week in the Senate is on its way to the House, where Republican Congressman Scott Taylor of Virginia Beach says net neutrality sounds nice. But, he says, that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea.

"My concern about the overregulation that’s there — the over burdensome regulation — actually hurts people. Not the big AT&Ts or the Coxes that are ISPs, but the small guys that are trying to be economically feasible in rural areas, which I have in my district.”

Net neutrality rules are set to expire next month, which means the debate over access to the internet is likely to heat up just as the campaign season moves into full swing.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.