The FCC has repealed the net neutrality rules that prohibited internet service providers from discriminating against certain websites, influencing their loading speeds and demanding payment for visiting these websites. After overturning net neutrality, the internet service providers will be able to promote specific content and make it more difficult to see other content.

Protesters against the net neutrality repeal

Protesters against the net neutrality repeal Photo Credit: Reuters/Channel 2 News

The Republican majority Federal Communications Commission (FCC) unanimously passed a controversial plan this evening (Thursday) that overturned the US net neutrality rules. The repealed rules banned internet service providers from discriminating against specific websites, charging more money for certain content and slowing down these websites’ loading speeds. Several groups demonstrated in protest of the decision outside of the voting site, holding signs that read: “Save the internet.”

The vote was held despite protests by high-tech industry officials and even several Republican Congressmen, who demanded that the voting be canceled. The net neutrality rules, which were passed in 2015 under US President Barack Obama’s administration, were aimed at maintaining a free and fair internet.

Those who oppose the vote fear that without FCC supervision, internet service providers will show preference towards content creators that they already cooperate with, which could affect user access to certain ideas and content and could grant specific communications companies an advantage over their competition.