We knew all along that the FCC would dramatically roll back Obama-era net neutrality provisions in the vote held today in Washington, D.C. We even know what the final vote tally would be: 3-2, a party-line decision from a five-person board that must, by law, include two members of the minority party.
But today’s vote reached its inevitable outcome in wild fashion. Protesters rallied outside and internet users watched via the FCC’s live stream as Democrats on the board furiously denounced Pai’s decision and security issues temporary halted the process.
The FCC’s meeting began at 10:30 a.m. Pro-neutrality commissioners Mignon Clyburn and Jessica Rosenworcel spoke against the proposal while tens of thousands of internet users watched via a live stream on the FCC’s website. Outside, protesters piled flowers up in apparent mourning. The meeting had already run past its planned two-hour length when, shortly before the vote, security guards evacuated the building due to an unidentified threat. The meeting later resumed, and the vote went through.
The vote ends net neutrality as we know it and opens doors to a range of new tactics internet service providers can use to get more out of internet users and web-based businesses. Which tactics will be used and what a non-neutral net will actually look like remains unknown. We’ll soon find out.
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