In a 3-2 vote on Thursday, the Federal Communications Commission, in response to a proposal by Ajit Pai, Chairman of the FCC, has accepted the discard of the net neutrality rules that stopped broadband providers from blocking websites, charging extra for higher-quality service, or certain content.
These regulations were created to ensure that providers treat all internet traffic equally and the dismantling of net neutrality has caused outrage and panic among U.S. citizens on the social media.
This action has reversed their 2015 decision to have stricter and stronger oversight over internet providers to ensure the safety of free communication online.
The commission’s chairman, Ajit Pai, has defended the vote saying that this would ultimately benefit the customers as corporations like AT&T and Comcast would be able to provide them a wider range of services, adding that this move would encourage competition and prove as an incentive to build networks.
However, the general consensus seems that this is a move in favor of large corporations and not the consumers. This will also affect start-ups and smaller companies as they have to pay to reach a wider audience.
Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi described this decision as “a stunning blow” to the promise of a free and open Internet.
“With this unjustified and blatant giveaway to big providers, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai is proving himself an eager executor of the Trump Administration’s anti-consumer, anti-competition agenda,” Pelosi said.
After the uproar caused over this decision, major broadcast providers like AT&T and Comcast have promised their customers that their online experience will not change, but many are skeptical that companies will not adhere to their promise now that there is lighter regulation over their activities.
Several public interest groups and democratic state attorneys have allegedly promised to file a suit to stop this change.