The FCC's repeal of "net neutrality" is now formally enacted after an order was published on Thursday in the Federal Register, the official journal of federal government regulations. The rules go into effect on April 23.
The rule publishing triggers a 60-legislative-day deadline for Congress to vote on whether to overturn the decision and it opens the door to formal legal challenges.
In December, the FCC voted 3-2 along party lines to overturn Obama Administration-era net neutrality rules that regulated the internet, preventing service providers from blocking, slowing access to or charging more for certain content, Reuters reported.
Supporters of the FCC's vote charged that net neutrality rules regulated the internet unnecessarily and blocked the free market progress, ABC News reported. Net neutrality supporters, though, said the rule was needed to ensure that all internet users and their content were treated the same.
"It is not the job of the government to pick the winners and losers of the internet," Ajit Pai, the FCC chairman, said on Dec. 14 when the agency moved away from net neutrality rules, per ABC News. "We should have a level playing field."
Support for net neutrality by influential technology company like Amazon, Microsoft, Netflix, and Twitter failed the sway the FCC in its December decision, ABC News noted, but Reuters noted that the rule change was supported by internet service providers like AT&T Inc., Comcast Corp., and Verizon Communications.
The White House's Office of Management and Budget has required a few amendments to the final rule, which will go into effect April 23, ABC News said. The office stated, though, that it plans on signing off on the rule "without much delay."
Public Knowledge and similar groups, the California Public Utilities Commission, and a coalition of 23 state attorneys general filed lawsuits in federal court Thursday to challenge the FCC abandoning the net neutrality measure, The Washington Post reported.
"An open internet, and the free exchange of ideas it allows, is critical to our democratic process," New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said about the attorneys general lawsuit.
"Repealing net neutrality will allow internet service providers to put corporate profits over consumers by controlling what we see, do, and say online. Consumers and businesses in New York and across the country have the right to a free and open internet, and our coalition of Attorneys General won’t stop fighting to protect that right."
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