The order passed today, “Restoring Internet Freedom,” essentially removes the FCC as a regulator of the broadband industry and relegates rules that prevented blocking and throttling content to the honor system. The FTC is now ostensibly has that role, but it is far from an expert agency on this topic and cannot make preemptive rules like those that have been in place for the last few years.
As expected, the vote was 3 to 2 along party lines, with Chairman Ajit Pai and Republican Commissioners Brendan Carr and Michael O’Rielly voting in favor of the order, and Democratic Commissioners Mignon Clyburn and Jessica Rosenworcel voting against.
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who has expressed concern over the public comment process prior to the FCC's vote, immediately declared his intent to sue the FCC over its vote:
— Eric Schneiderman (@AGSchneiderman) December 14, 2017
Politicians, activists and corporations quickly shared their outrage on Twitter:
This is an egregious attack on our democracy. The end of #NetNeutrality protections means that the internet will be for sale to the highest bidder. When our democratic institutions are already in peril, we must do everything we can to stop this decision from taking effect. https://t.co/8GGrJFMdrU
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) December 14, 2017
This vote to destroy #NetNeutrality is an outrageous attack on our free and open internet, one that puts “We the Powerful” over “We the People.” It’s totally unacceptable, and I’m going to do everything I can in Congress to overturn it. https://t.co/LkwH44pOpW
— Senator Jeff Merkley (@SenJeffMerkley) December 14, 2017
This is an outrageous assault on a fair and open internet. Mark my words, this decision will not last! We will reverse it by winning future elections. https://t.co/J6QXOXfwAm
— Cory Booker (@CoryBooker) December 14, 2017
“I can’t believe this website is free.” Well, pretty soon it won’t be. #NetNeutrality
— Sarah Lerner (@SarahLerner) December 14, 2017
We’re disappointed in the decision to gut #NetNeutrality protections that ushered in an unprecedented era of innovation, creativity & civic engagement. This is the beginning of a longer legal battle. Netflix stands w/ innovators, large & small, to oppose this misguided FCC order.
— Netflix US (@netflix) December 14, 2017
— Free Press (@freepress) December 14, 2017
Stay tuned for more updates.
Earlier: If federal regulators repeal net neutrality, internet providers will be allowed to speed up service for some apps and websites---and block or slow down others. Such a decision would overturn the landmark, Obama-era regulations for broadband companies such as AT&T and Verizon.
Watch live video of the FCC's vote above.