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In Major Blow to Free Internet, FCC Votes to Repeal Landmark Net Neutrality Rules

HeadlineDec 15, 2017

The Federal Communications Commission, known as the FCC, has voted to dismantle landmark “net neutrality” rules designed to keep the internet free and open. The vote repeals rules established in 2015 after widespread organizing and protests by free internet advocates. These rules required internet service providers to treat web content equally and not block or prioritize some content over others in return for payment.

The repeal of these rules was widely opposed by the American public, with more than 20 million people submitting comments to the FCC. But Trump’s chairman of the FCC, Ajit Pai, had lobbied heavily to repeal the rules. On Thursday, he was joined by two fellow Republican commissioners, and the FCC voted 3-2 to repeal the rules. Thursday’s vote means internet service providers could now slow down internet speed and jack up prices. Thursday’s vote also means the government will no longer regulate high-speed internet as if it were a public utility, like phone service. On Thursday, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman vowed to sue to block the repeal.

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman: “New Yorkers deserve a free and open internet. And that’s why my office will sue to stop the FCC’s illegal rollback of net neutrality. We’ll be filing a claim to preserve protections for New Yorkers—and all Americans—and will be working aggressively to stop the FCC’s leadership from doing any further damage to the internet and our economy.”

The FCC’s vote to repeal net neutrality rules is the latest and most controversial of a series of changes led by Chairman Ajit Pai. Over the last year, he has also loosened rules aimed at limiting media consolidation, and scaled back a program aimed at expanding broadband access among low-income Americans.

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