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Senate Votes to Retain Net Neutrality Rules

The Senate rejected a bid to overturn the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) net neutrality rules yesterday, ensuring that consumers will continue to garner huge economic benefits from an open Internet.

The rules, which will come into effect on November 20, 2011, forbid Internet Service Providers from discriminating against content-providers by charging them a fee for access to end-users. Our recent report examined the consumer value created by the Internet — up to $5,686 per user in a year — and discussed the importance of net neutrality for protecting that value. Passage of the bill could have reduced Internet Service Providers’ incentives to invest in Internet infrastructure, threatening consumers and reducing the overall value of the network.

The Senate’s decision is an important step in protecting economic benefits for consumers, but the FCC rules are still threatened by pending court challenges. The outcomes of these decisions may affect investment in both Internet infrastructure and content for decades to come.