Republished with Permission by Knowhere News
The December decision by the Federal Communications Commission to repeal net neutrality regulations took effect Monday, making it legal for internet service providers to prioritize or slow access to some websites as long as the policy is disclosed.
The Republican-majority FCC previously approved the repeal of the Obama-era regulations, a decision strongly criticized by several large technology companies and Democrats in Congress.
In an opinion piece published Monday, FCC chairman Ajit Pai said he had supported the repeal in order to “protect consumers and promote better, faster internet access and more competition”, and said the internet had flourished prior to the net neutrality rule’s 2015 passage.
Digital rights advocacy groups slammed the decision Monday. “Ajit Pai’s absurd repeal of basic free speech protections is the most unpopular decision in the history of the FCC, and it will not stand,” said Evan Greer, deputy director of digital rights group Fight for the Future.
Democrats have reportedly considered highlighting net neutrality as an issue in the midterm elections. To reinstate the rules, the House and Senate would have to vote in agreement and President Donald Trump, who appointed Pai, would have to sign off.