Federal Communications Commission voted in favor of the plan to repeal net neutrality protections on December 14. The plan was passed 3-2, including a party-line vote.
The vote came despite the protests from tech fraternity, consumer advocacy groups, and Republican members of Congress who had been urging FCC to delay or cancel the vote.
There was a brief interruption during the vote due to security threat. FCC commissioners and audiences needed to evacuate the room in response.
The voting was conducted and proposal was approved after the brief interruption. Under the approved proposal, internet service are not barred from blocking or lowering down the speed of loading content of some websites.
Ajit Pai, who was appointed by President Trump as the head of FCC, had been a critic of net neutrality. He proposed a plan to repeal the net neutrality regulations in November.
“It is not going to destroy the internet. It is not going to end the internet as we know it. It is not going to kill democracy. It is not going to stifle free expression online,” Pai said in his remarks on December 14.
The net neutrality regulations were approved by FCC and implemented in 2015. It prohibited internet service providers including Verizon and Comcast from accelerating or lowering down the speed of specific websites and apps.
Leading streaming platform providers had protested the approval. The ultimate decision on the issue may be taken in court.
“We’re disappointed in the decision to gut #NetNeutrality protections that ushered in an unprecedented era of innovation, creativity & civic engagement,” Netflix said in a tweet after the vote. “This is the beginning of a longer legal battle.”
A coalition of net neutrality advocacy groups is lining up to file petition to turn the FCC vote back. The Internet Association has been weighing legal options.