Activists protest outside of City Hall in New York on Sept. 15, 2014 to demand protections for Net Neutrality. (Richard B. Levine/Sipa USA/TNS)

FCC votes to repeal net neutrality


As expected, the Federal Communications Commission voted Thursday to repeal rules ensuring Net Neutrality.

The commission voted 3-2, along party lines, to repeal. The Republicans on the commission, Chairman Ajit Pai, Commissioners Michael O’Reilly, and Brendan Carr voted in favor of repeal. Democratic Commissioners Mignon Clyburn and Jessica Rosenworcel voted against.

Thursday’s vote repeals rules put in place by the FCC. Those rules classified Internet service as a public utility, ensuring Net Neutrality, or an open Internet policy, in the U.S.

Net Neutrality requires Internet Service Providers to treat all data equally, meaning consumers can access all content available online at the same speeds no matter where it’s hosted.

Critics of neutrality argue the policy doesn’t incentivize ISPs to invest heavily in broadband technologies and that the Internet will flourish under fewer restrictions.

Proponents of neutrality believe repeal will result in price increases and uneven access to different sites.

Twitter, Reddit, Kickstarter, Netflix, and Google are among the companies that have announced their support for continued Net Neutrality. ISPs Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T have publicly supported neutrality but have said the current rules are not the best way of achieving a truly open Internet. Earlier this year, all three issued statements urging Congress to take action to ensure and clearly define Net Neutrality.

Numerous parties have threatened the FCC with lawsuits over the vote to repeal rules pertaining to Net Neutrality. The FCC has voted but now must defend its decision in court.

— Molly Hunter

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