The Federal Communications Commission voted Thursday to roll back restrictions on internet providers, commonly referred to as “net neutrality” rules. These regulations were put in place under the Open Internet Order of 2015 during Obama’s presidency.
By a 2-1 vote led by FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, the agency proposed to end regulating internet providers in a similar manner to legacy telephone businesses or other utilities.
“Today we propose to repeal utility-style regulation of the Internet,” said Pai, reported the Washington Post. “The evidence strongly suggests this is the right way to go.”
The proposal asks whether the FCC should eliminate the rule that bans ISPs from blocking or slowing websites and whether the FCC should be charged with investigating businesses suspected of being anti-competitive.
The FCC will now take public comment on its proposal to remove these regulations, and then it will be put to a final vote later this year.
The FCC’s only Democrat, Mignon Clyburn, criticized the decision. “The endgame appears to be no-touch regulation, and a wholesale destruction of the FCC’s public interest authority in the 21st century,” he said.
Internet service providers have long argued that these regulations were burdensome and that their removal would help them add much-needed upgrades to their networks.