The FCC today voted 3-2 along party lines to end Obama-era net neutrality rules that were put in place to force internet providers like Verizon and Comcast to treat all web traffic equally.
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, who voted against net neutrality as a minority commissioner under the Obama administration, has argued that the rules unfairly treat Internet providers like a traditional utility service.
“The digital world bears no resemblance to a water pipe or an electric line or a sewer,” Pai said.
Pai also said repealing net neutrality restores a favorable climate for investment, which will spur competition and innovation that benefits users.
Net neutrality supporters say repealing the rules is a blow to consumers and suggested a court challenge is forthcoming.
“If the arc of history is long, we are going to bend this toward a more just outcome – in the courts, in Congress, wherever we need to go to ensure that net neutrality stays the law of the land,” said Democratic commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel.
Today’s vote came despite calls from 18 attorneys general to delay the action pending an investigation into fake comments filed with the FCC.
“A careful review of the publicly available information revealed a pattern of fake submissions using the names of real people,” the letter reads. “In fact, there may be one million fake submissions from across the country. This is akin to identity theft on a massive scale – and theft of someone’s voice in a democracy is particularly concerning.”