States Vow To Fight Against FCC Net Neutrality Repeal

net neutrality

FCC Vote Kills Net Neutrality

It’s been three weeks since the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)  voted 3-2 in favor of ending Obama-era net neutrality protections. Votes towed party lines, with both Democratic members dissenting and Republicans unanimously voted to return the internet to the free market, FCC commissioner Ajit Pai says.

Pai was a long time critic of Title II protections, saying it hampers internet service providers (ISP’s) ability to create new services and markets. Title II protections give internet service providers strong legal backing, The Verge reports. Pai says removing Title II protections returns the internet to the free market and that the internet as we know it won’t change drastically. But critics say drastic change that is exactly what will happen.

What Is Net Neutrality

Net neutrality is the idea that internet access is treated as a public utility like water or electricity. Government protections  stopped internet providers from throttling content providers bandwidth. For example: Verizon is a internet provider and soon will be offering their own original content through a streaming platform. Under these new protections, or lack thereof, Verizon could allow their content to stream faster and at a higher quality while stifling bandwidth for competition. Customers with Verizon internet would potentially have to pay increased rates to use Netflix or other competitors content at the same speed as Verizon’s content. This is a detriment to one-third of Americans who only have a single internet service provider to choose from, Motherboard reports.

“As a result of today’s misguided action, our broadband providers will get extraordinary new power from this agency,” said Jessica Rosenworcel, a FCC board member who voted against the repeal, The Hill reports.

“I dissent, because I am one of millions outraged,” Mignon Clyburn said. Clyburn is the other dissenting FCC board member, New York Times reports. Clyburn fiercely condemned the commission for ignoring the millions of citizens that vocalized their support for net neutrality protections. She continued by saying “the FCC pulls out its own teeth, abdicating responsibility to protect the nation’s broadband consumers.”

States Fighting Back

In a counter move, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is suing the FCC and challenging the Title II removal in court. Schneiderman said in a statement that his requests to delay the vote we’re repeatedly denied. The FCC also refused to help with Schneiderman’s investigation into the millions of fake comments that poured into the FCC website, tainting the public record. Critics say this shows the FCC’s disdain for public opinion, NPR reports. Washington state also vowed to defend its citizens and challenge the FCC in court. Gov. Jay Inslee, Attorney General Bob Ferguson and Washington states representatives released a statement Wednesday night stating their case against the FCC.

“This is not a partisan issue because Republican and Democrats agree that a free and open internet is good for consumers and good for this state,” Democratic Rep. Drew Hansen said. “We certainly wish the FCC would do the right thing, but if they don’t do the right thing, we will act and we will protect consumers here.”

Schneiderman is suggesting that ISP’s that break net neutrality standards will be barred from starting contracts in their state.  Apparently their are provisions within that keep the state from challenging the FCC vote, but a New York assembly maker implies that they can use the “power of the purse” to keep ISP’s from overreaching with their new found power.

*Feature Image PC:  (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey, Pool)*

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