WASHINGTON (Sinclair Broadcast Group) -- The Federal Communications Commission voted Thursday to repeal net neutrality - an Obama era policy which prevented broadband providers from blocking or slowing down access to certain websites.
FCC chairman Ajit Pai called the old rules heavy-handed, and said net neutrality impeded the free market and new innovation.
“When there’s less investment that means fewer next-generation networks are built and that means less access and less competition,” Pai said during Thursday’s hearing.
But those who liked the old rules of net neutrality believe it helped keep the internet an equal playing field for all people. As an example, the online cooking show Laura in the Kitchen has nearly three million subscribers, but critics of the FCC decision worry she could lose many of them moving forward if she doesn’t pay up, or if they don’t. They worry that internet service providers could play favorites, speeding up access to some sites and slowing down or even blocking others.
"You might one day want to visit your favorite website and find out that actually it’s not part of your internet pkg and for some additional amount of money you can get access," said Reddit Co-Founder Alexis Ohanian.
Companies like ATT&T, Verizon and Comcast in favor of the ruling, while companies like Netflix, Facebook and Amazon are vowing to fight it in court.
In Washington, key players including Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and President Trump have said they support the FCC’s decision, but some Democratic lawmakers though are already fighting it. They have 60 days to submit a Resolution of Disapproval which they can do under the Congressional Review Act, so it looks like this fight isn’t over yet