The headline on CNN’s homepage says it all, above. As expected, the FCC just voted along party lines to gut the 2015 net neutrality protections instituted by the Obama administration. Voting were Republicans Agit Pai, Michael O’Rielly, and Brendan Carr, and Dems Mignon Clyburn and Jessica Rosenworcel.
Cory Booker got to us first with a written statement (reformatted to one paragraph):
“Today’s vote to completely gut net neutrality protections is a devastating blow not just to internet access, but to the fundamental ideals of a free and open internet for all. Creating fast lanes and slow lanes on the internet will stifle innovation and undermine the democratizing power of the internet. “Net neutrality isn’t just a tech issue – it’s a small business issue, it’s an education issue, it’s a health issue – and it’s not a luxury. All Americans should have equal access – free from blocking or discrimination – to online content, platforms, and websites. “The fight isn’t over. We expect a legal challenge to today’s decision, and I’ll continue to push for a permanent solution that will protect consumers.”
During Pai’s statement, the room was suddenly evacuated, with dogs brought in, for security as tens of thousands of comments poured into FCC and the livestream being watched around the country. Mignon Clyburn’s long statement was fiercely and emotionally read. Here’s a snippet. [Read both the dissenting statements here]. In his statement, Pai, a Trump appointee and driver of today’s partisan vote, said: “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’s projection is the exact opposite of what most Americans, even most Republicans, many members of Congress, and many online content providers believe. I can’t do better to let you know how inane and flaky Ajit Pai is on this than to show you this video he made for right-wing site The Daily Caller mocking his critics. Must see:
This still must be approved by the Office of Management and Budget, a process than can be several months. Existing rules stay in place until a decision there. Expect a court challenge, or multiple challenges, which may be filed as early as today. And it’s still possible for Congress to engage; there will be formal requests to Congress to simply overturn today’s vote, petitions which might have sway with some congressional Republicans who do not support today’s vote.