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FCC Repeals Net Neutrality Rules in a 3-to-2 Vote

The FCC has repealed the 2015 net neutrality rules in a 3-2 vote.

The Federal Communications Commission voted along party lines on Thursday to repeal landmark 2015 rules, setting up a court fight over a move that could recast the digital landscape. David Shepardson reporting in Reuters: "The approval of FCC Chairman Ajit Pai's proposal marks a victory for internet service providers like AT&T Inc, Comcast Corp and Verizon Communications Inc and hands them power over what content consumers can access. Democrats, Hollywood, and companies like Google parent Alphabet Inc and Facebook Inc had urged Pai, a Republican appointed by U.S. President Donald Trump, to keep the Obama-era rules barring service providers from blocking, slowing access to or charging more for certain content. ... The FCC voted 3-2 to repeal the rules."

From the official press release issued today by the FCC: "The Federal Communications Commission today voted to restore the longstanding, bipartisan light-touch regulatory framework that has fostered rapid Internet growth, openness, and freedom for nearly 20 years. Following detailed legal and economic analysis, as well as extensive examination of comments from consumers and stakeholders, the Commission reversed the FCC's 2015 heavy-handed utility-style regulation of broadband Internet access service, which imposed substantial costs on the entire Internet ecosystem. In place of that heavy-handed framework, the FCC is returning to the traditional light-touch framework that was in place until 2015."

"I Will Sue To Stop Illegal Rollback Of Net Neutrality," New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman in a statement released following FCC vote. "The FCC’s vote to rip apart net neutrality is a blow to New York consumers, and to everyone who cares about a free and open internet. The FCC just gave Big Telecom an early Christmas present, by giving internet service providers yet another way to put corporate profits over consumers. Today’s rollback will give ISPs new ways to control what we see, what we do, and what we say online. That’s a threat to the free exchange of ideas that’s made the Internet a valuable asset in our democratic process."

"FCC's rushed, technically flawed decision will harm the economy," writes Barbara van Schewick, Professor of Law and Helen L. Crocker Faculty Scholar at Stanford Law School, Director of Stanford Law School's Center for Internet and Society. "Today's vote is a stain on the FCC. For decades, the FCC prided itself on being careful, deliberate and transparent in its mission to keep the internet open for free speech, commerce and innovation, while maintaining incentives for broadband providers to invest. This FCC has failed to live up to that standard. ... While I'm confident the courts will find ample grounds to strike down today's order, Chairman Pai's rushed and technically flawed plan causes immediate damage, not just to the U.S. economy, but to the FCC's reputation and to Americans' already flagging faith in our nation's democratic processes."

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