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US Government Agency Ends ‘Net Neutrality’ Rule


Protesters carry the top of an alarm clock display that reads "Net Neutrality" after a protest at the Federal Communications Commission in Washington, Dec. 14, 2017. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)


A government commission has voted to end the internet policy known as “net neutrality.”

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is a government agency responsible for regulating the internet in the United States.

Its members voted to end net neutrality by a vote of 3 to 2.

Net neutrality is the idea that internet service providers should treat all traffic over the internet equally.

In 2015, the FCC set the rule to prevent internet service providers from interfering with traffic from some websites while providing faster service to others.

Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai, center, announces the vote was approved to repeal net neutrality, next to Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, left, who voted no, and Commissioner Michael O'Rielly, who voted yes, at the FCC, Dec. 14, 20
Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai, center, announces the vote was approved to repeal net neutrality, next to Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, left, who voted no, and Commissioner Michael O'Rielly, who voted yes, at the FCC, Dec. 14, 20

Ajit Pai is the new chairman of the FCC. Pai is a member of the Republican Party like President Donald Trump. He said the 3 to 2 vote ending net neutrality would stop unnecessary regulation. He added that the vote is “restoring the light-touch framework that has governed the internet for most of its existence.”

Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, a Democrat, said the move means giving the internet to a “handful of multi-billion dollar corporations.”

Under the new rules, internet providers will be free to block competing applications. Service providers would also be able to slow down competing services or offer faster speeds to companies that pay more.

Companies will have to place their policies online or inform the FCC about them. The change also says states cannot approve their own rules for the internet that do not agree with FCC rules.

Internet service providers like Comcast, Verizon and AT&T say that the internet experience is not going to change for most people. But many companies have worked hard to influence politicians to end the net neutrality rule.

Some Americans worry that ending the rule means businesses will be able to control what they see and do online.

Before the commission’s vote, the FCC website recorded 22 million comments and members of Congress received more than one million phone calls.

I’m Mario Ritter.

Hai Do wrote this story for Learning English based on AP and VOA news reports. Mario Ritter was the editor.

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Words in This Story

regulate –v. to control with authority, to make rules related to a certain area

framework –n. a set of ideas or rules that support something or permit an activity to be carried out

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