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Net Neutrality Repeal Stirs Passions on Both Sides

FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai, left, during a meeting of the commissioners in D.C. KAREN BLEIER AFP/Getty Images

Thursday’s vote by the Federal Communications Commission to revoke its 2015 net neutrality rules generated heated commentary from both supporters and opponents of the move. On a party-line vote, Trump-appointed chairman Ajit Pai and two other Republican commissioners voted in favor of revoking the rules, while the two Democrats on the commission voted against the move.

Once the rules go into effect, for the first time in more than a decade the agency will have no policy explicitly prohibiting Internet service providers from blocking, slowing or otherwise discriminating against online sites and services. In general, telecommunications companies were the winners, while consumers and Internet companies lost out. Here are some of the reactions:

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“We’re disappointed in the FCC’s decision to gut the net neutrality protections that ushered in an unprecedented era of innovation, creativity and civic engagement. Today’s decision is the beginning of a longer legal battle. Netflix will stand with innovators, large and small, to oppose this misguided FCC order.”

Verizon vz

“Verizon fully supports the open Internet, and we will continue to do so. Our customers demand it and our business depends on it.”

Jay Stanley, American Civil Liberties Union senior policy analyst

“Since the end of the dial-up era, the FCC has enforced network neutrality principles and helped create the internet as we know it. Today’s misguided FCC action represents a radical departure that risks erosion of the biggest free speech platform the world has ever known. Today’s loss means that telecommunications companies will start intruding more on how people use the internet. Internet service providers will become much more aggressive in their efforts to make money off their role as online gatekeepers. But the fight for network neutrality is not over by any means. The ACLU and our allies will be fighting back in every possible arena to restore these crucial protections.”

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“We commend Chairman Pai for his leadership and FCC Commissioners O’Rielly and Carr for their support in adopting the Restoring Internet Freedom Order, returning to a regulatory environment that allowed the Internet to thrive for decades by eliminating burdensome Title II regulations and opening the door for increased investment and digital innovation. Today’s action does not mark the ‘end of the Internet as we know it;’ rather it heralds in a new era of light regulation that will benefit consumers.”

Fight the Future, a non-profit in favor of net neutrality

“The telecom industry spent millions lobbying and spreading misinformation to pit Internet users against each other and turn net neutrality into a partisan issue. They have failed. Net neutrality has more public support now than it ever has before. Internet users are educated, outraged, and strategic, and they know that Congress has the power to overturn the FCC vote. Lawmakers cannot hide from their constituents on this issue. The Internet has given ordinary people more power than ever before. We’re going to fight tooth and nail to make sure no one takes that power away.”

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman (on Twitter)

“I will sue to stop the FCC’s illegal rollback of #netneutrality. New Yorkers and all Americans deserve a free and open internet.”

Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky (on Twitter)

“The FCC’s vote to repeal net neutrality is wrong & disappointing. A free & open internet is critical to innovation, an open society, & widespread access to economic empowerment. @Airbnb will continue to speak out for net neutrality.”

Bob Quinn, senior executive vice president at AT&T t

“For more than a decade, under both Republican and Democratic Administrations, AT&T has consistently made clear that we provide broadband service in an open and transparent way. We do not block websites, nor censor online content, nor throttle or degrade traffic based on the content, nor unfairly discriminate in our treatment of internet traffic. These principles, which were laid out in the FCC’s 2010 Open Internet Order and fully supported by AT&T, are clearly articulated on our website and are fully enforceable against us. In short, the internet will continue to work tomorrow just as it always has. Despite the existence and the enforceability of all of these commitments, we have, since 2010, also repeatedly called for a non-Title II legislative solution that would make these consumer protections permanent. We continue to support a legislative solution and will work with any interested members of Congress to achieve that solution.”

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