The votes are in and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has voted in favor of repealing the Net Neutrality Rules.
This decision will pull back the restrictions that internet providers have concerning how they treat their customers looking to get online. Now, companies like AT&T and Comcast are no longer prohibited from actions like blocking websites or charging for things like higher-quality service/speed or certain content.
These regulations first went into effect in 2015, through the Obama administration, as a way to protect US citizens who have turned to the internet for everyday use.
That said, it was also Barack Obama who appointed Republican Ajit Pai, the current chairman of the FCC, as a way to bridge the gap between party lines.
Unfortunately, that seems to have backfired as Pai's time in the FCC has been nothing but problematic.
The discarding of net neutrality regulations is the most significant and controversial action by the F.C.C. under Mr. Pai. In his first 11 months as chairman, he has lifted media ownership limits, eased caps on how much broadband providers can charge business customers and cut back on a low-income broadband program that was slated to be expanded to nationwide carriers.
Despite Pai's plan to repeal Net Neutrality being hugely controversial and opposed, he backed up the idea recently in a video (where he also mocked those crying against the repeal).
Sadly, it seems that Pai won in the end as the vote became very party-biased and ultimately ruled 3 Republicans for the appeal (Pai, Brendan Carr, and Mike O'Rielly) and 2 Democrats (Mignon Clyburn and Jessica Rosenworcel) against it.
As you can imagine, the internet (or, at least Twitter) is not taking this decision well.
“We’re disappointed in the FCC’s decision to gut the net neutrality protections that ushered in an unprecedented era of innovation, creativity and civic engagement. Today’s decision is the beginning of a longer legal battle. Netflix will stand with innovators, large and small, to oppose this misguided FCC order.” – Netflix in a statement to Variety.
But this isn't the end of our fight for freedom on the internet.
Second, you can bet there are several advocacy groups who are already setting up lawsuits to fight this repeal of Net Neutrality. One such person, who's been vocal about his plans, is New York State attorney Eric Schneiderman.
As with Trump's ban of transgender service people in the military, the FCC's act can be taken back by other branches of government.
But what does the FCC have to say about all this controversy its caused?