FCC votes to roll back net neutrality rules

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on Thursday voted to start rolling back the controversial net neutrality rules, highlighting an uphill battle for Democrats as well as consumer advocates.

Led by FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, members of the federal agency voted 2-1 to pass the proposal to roll back the Obama government’s 2015-decision that was designed to regulate Internet service providers (ISPs) more heavily, with the help of some of the same rules that apply to phone companies.

The federal agency also agrees to repeal the “general conduct” rule which allows the agency to probe business practices of ISPs that it suspects might be anti-competitive.

Finally, the approved measure proposes the agency to eliminate the net neutrality rules -- the rules that ban the blocking and slowing of websites, as well as forbid Internet provides from charging websites additional fees.

Announcing the decision, FCC Chairman Pai said, “Today we propose to repeal utility-style regulation of the Internet. The evidence strongly suggests this is the right way to go.”

Mignon Clyburn, the FCC’s solo Democratic member, criticiised the decision, arguing that the decision to revisit the rules marked the Republicans’ latest effort to undercut their own mission.