The Federal Communications Commission voted on Thursday to repeal net neutrality rules that had been in place since 2015, the New York Times reports. The now-repealed Obama administration regulations treated Internet service providers like a utility, preventing them from charging different rates for higher loading speeds or blocking access to specific websites.
The FCC's vote split 3-2 along party lines, with Ajit Pai, the Trump-appointed chairman of the commission, voting alongside two other Republican commissioners in favor of the rule rollback. The two dissenting votes came from the commission's Democratic members.
Pai told the New York Times that the restored flexibility of the rules would be good for the American public, not just ISPs. "We are helping consumers and promoting competition," he said. "Broadband providers will have more incentive to build networks, especially to underserved areas."
Many remain unconvinced by Pai's optimism. There's been vocal opposition to the rule change from media organizations and members of the public alike, ever since Pai floated it earlier this year. Today, after the vote, Mignon Clyburn, one of the commissioners who voted against the repeal told the Times, "I am among the millions outraged ... because the F.C.C. pulls its own teeth, abdicating responsibility to protect the nation's broadband consumers."