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Net neutrality repeal slammed as 'illegal' and 'dangerous' amid fears internet users will soon be charged to use sites

Dismay boiled over social media after the Federal Communications Commission voted to repeal net neutrality rules.

In a 3-2 vote, commissioners moved to scrap 2015 regulations that barred internet service providers from sorting customers into different tiers.

While commissioners in favour called the rules cumbersome and said they obstructed innovation, the widely anticipated move had for weeks drawn outrage from people who warned that commissioners would allow providers to control how users experience the internet by slowing or halting service.

Elected officials who had opposed the change weighed in, including a Congressman representing Silicon Valley, and multiple members of Congress said they would offer legislation to reverse the FCC. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman called the move “illegal” and vowed to sue, presaging what will likely be a number of legal challenges.

So too did companies, like Netflix, whose service is founded on swift internet access.

Advocacy organisations that had fought the move issued calls to organize, saying the fight should shift to persuading Congress to enact new rules. 

The vote unleashed a flood of tweets decrying the vote. Some users warned that a scarcity of service providers where they lived would mean they were at the mercy of newly empowered corporations.

Others played on the notion that the move would mean degraded service for people who could not afford a faster option.

Those concerns echoed the warnings of the two FCC commissioners who opposed the move, warning it would give service providers sweeping authority to determine who sees what online. 

Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel issued a call to action, saying “this is not over” and urging people to continue “raising a ruckus”.

The White House backed the change, with press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders saying the administration supports the “effort to roll back burdensome regulations.effort to roll back burdensome regulations”.

Because presidents have the power to appoint FCC commissioners, the agency tends to vote along partisan lines. Donald Trump elevated Ajit Pai, who championed the net neutrality rollback, to his current role as the panel’s chairman.

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