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The FCC have voted to repeal US internet regulations, but net neutrality isn’t dead yet

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As expected, the FCC voted today to repeal the US net neutrality rules that were put in place in 2015. The vote came down to party lines, with three Republicans voting for and two Democrats voting against.

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Net neutrality was a set of rules requiring internet service providers to treat all internet traffic equally in their service, without blocking or throttling access to certain types of traffic or content. The rules were implemented under a similar 3-2 vote, but with Democrats winning against Republican dissenters in that case.

ISPs argue that the internet was able to flourish prior to the 2015 implementation of the rules, and that the repeal of net neutrality would be unlikely to have a meaningful effect on internet service, suggesting that the rules are merely unnecessary regulation. Other major companies ranging from Google to Netflix have spoken out against net neutrality repeal, citing instances where ISPs have already unfairly throttled certain types of access in the past.

Though the FCC has voted for repeal, there are several avenues by which net neutrality could remain in place. Congress have the power to vote to overturn decisions enacted by federal agencies with a simple majority, and though both House and Senate are controlled by Republicans, some dissenters in the party have voiced opposition to net neutrality repeal.

Advocacy groups will likely soon be filing suits against the FCC, in the hopes that a court will overturn the decision. State and local lawmakers could also implement regional net neutrality rules in the absence of federal regulations.

If you’re a US citizen who wants to make your stance on net neutrality known, you can find contact information for Senate representatives here, and House representatives here.