Democrats are outnumbered in Washington, and that may leave them little leverage to stop Republicans intent on dismantling net neutrality rules that were a signature Obama-era regulation.
But they say they will keep trying.
“I never believe all is lost,” said Mignon Clyburn, the sole Democrat at the Federal Communications Commission.
Clyburn’s two Republican colleagues on the commission out-voted her Thursday to begin formally considering weakening the rules, which prohibit broadband providers such as AT&T Inc., Comcast Corp. and Verizon Communications Inc. from blocking or slowing some web traffic in favor of other content — their own or a paying customer’s. The action begins months of consideration leading to a second, conclusive vote after a comment period that ends in August.
The prospect of changing the rules has produced a public outpouring, demonstrating the populist appeal of an issue that has pitted Silicon Valley and its Democratic backers against long-established telecoms.