A major CNN news headline declared the “end of the Internet as we know it” after the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted Thursday afternoon to repeal historic net neutrality rules.
“End of the Internet as we know it,” CNN.com headlined shortly after the FCC voted 3-2 along party lines to repeal the 2015 Open Internet Order implemented during the Obama administration.
Trump’s FCC is repealing Obama-era net neutrality rules designed to keep the web open and honest.
Critics of the decision had warned that the rollback marked the end in the weeks leading up to the vote, an accusation FCC chairman Ajit Pai denies.
“It’s not going to destroy the internet. It’s not going to be the end of the internet as we know it. It will not kill democracy. It will not suppress free speech online,” Pai said during Thursday’s hearing.
CNN’s headline was echoed by a statement from Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who tweeted a video to his more than 7 million followers that “we must fight back” after the vote fell.
“This is the end of the internet as we know it. In Congress and in the courts, we must fight back.”
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) Dec 14, 2017
Democrats, tech companies and consumer groups have all argued that the rules under the Open Internet Order of 2015 are crucial to preventing providers like Cablevision, Comcast and Verizon from having too much control as Internet gatekeepers.
“They will have the power to block websites, restrict services and censor online content. They will have the right to discriminate against and favor internet traffic from those companies they have a pay-for-play agreement with, and the right to steer everyone else down a slow and bumpy road,” said Jessica Rosenworcel, one of the two Democrats on the FCC who voted against the repeal.
Pai has been consistent in his opposition to the 2015 rules, arguing that the FCC went too far when it imposed restrictions two years ago.
“After today’s vote, Americans will still be able to access the websites they choose to visit. They will still be able to enjoy the services they want to enjoy,” Pai said. “There will still be agents guarding a free and open internet. That is how things were before 2015 and that is how they will be again.”
The 2015 rules banned ISPs from blocking or restricting certain content or creating internet “fastlanes” in an effort to treat all websites equally.
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