WASHINGTON, D.C.- The Republican-led Federal Communications Commission voted to repeal Obama-era net neutrality protections. The vote was 3-2, along party lines.
The FCC is lead by five commissioners, who are appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate. The President also selects one of the commissioners to serve as the chair of the group. Note: The President must select two Democrats to be on the FCC.
Right now, there are two Democrats and three Republicans.
- Ajit Pai, Republican Chairman: Appointed by former President Barack Obama in 2012 and made chairman by President Trump earlier this year
- Mignon Clyburn, Democrat: Appointed by Obama in 2013
- Michael O’Rielly, Republican: Appointed by Obama in 2013
- Brendan Carr, Republican: Appointed by Trump in August
- Jessica Rosenworcel, Democrat: Appointed by Obama in 2012
Scores of internet companies oppose the FCC’s plan to repeal net neutrality rules. Here are some notable critics:
Additionally, some of the creators of the internet penned a letter calling on the FCC to cancel the vote.
The concern is that the repeal could give internet providers too much control over how online content is delivered. Netflix may be big enough to maneuver a new regulatory landscape, but the repeal could make it harder for the next generation of online services to compete, if they have to pay up to be placed in a so-called internet fast lane. Some also fear it could allow internet providers to charge customers extra for streaming services like Netflix in the future.
The issue may ultimately end up being decided in court. Congress can also choose to pursue a legislative solution. A coalition of net neutrality advocacy groups is now shifting to petitioning Congress to overturn the FCC vote. The Internet Association said it’s also weighing legal options. “While the fight to preserve net neutrality is going to be longer than we had hoped, this is far from over,” Alexis Ohanian and Steve Huffman, the cofounders of Reddit, wrote on Thursday.