Following a brief security scare, during which everyone was cleared from the room, the Federal Communications Commission on Thursday voted 3 to 2 along party lines to repeal the net neutrality regulations established under President Barack Obama. Ajit Pai, the Republican commissioner and chairman, cast the deciding vote. “We are helping consumers and promoting competition,” he said before doing so. “Broadband providers will have more incentive to build networks, especially to underserved areas.” Fellow GOP commissioners Michael O’Rielly and Brendan Carr also voted to repeal the regulations.
Thursday’s public hearing and vote notwithstanding, Pai, the FCC, and their allies have made their plans to dismantle Obama’s net neutrality regulations abundantly clear since earlier this year. The commissioner has even gone so far as to trash Twitter, other companies, and dissenters en masse for their negative response to his plans. Despite calls from dozens of senators and federal district attorneys not to abandon the rules just yet, however, Pai, O’Rielly, and Carr made their intent clear on Thursday.
So too did their fellow FCC commissioners Mignon Clyburn and Jessica Rosenworcel, the only two women (and Democrats) on the panel. In her dissent, Clyburn said, “I am among the millions outraged. Outraged, because the F.C.C. pulls its own teeth, abdicating responsibility to protect the nation’s broadband consumers.” As frightening as the panel’s decision is, however, the fate of the regulations will rest on Congress and the federal courts, both of which will undoubtedly spend some time battling it out.
(Via New York Times)