NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - The FCC voted Thursday to repeal internet regulations. While some applaud the move as a victory for the free market, others say it's violating of one of America's core values.
It's a landmark decision.
The Federal Communications Commission vote means internet service providers can now decide what content gets to your phone or laptop fastest.
"Which means they will be able to pick and choose favorites," said IT support professional Martin Avegno.
The move peels away 2015 policies regulating the internet like a utility, designed to ensure all online content is treated equally.
"The cell phone carriers and others who provide Internet service couldn't advantage Netflix over Hulu," said FOX 8 Political Analyst Mike Sherman.
Now, they can.
"The big cell phone companies are celebrating right now. They're going to be able to make a lot of money because they control how fast content is going to get to your phone or your computer at home," Sherman explained.
Yet, according to FCC chairman Ajit Pai, the net neutrality regulations put into place under the Obama administration were mistakes. He says there was nothing wrong with the free market model the Internet followed in its inception.
"The FCC scrapped the tried-and-true light touch regulation of the internet and replaced it with heavy-handed micromanagement," said Pai.
Pai argued that since net neutrality, investment in high-speed networks has plummeted to the tune of billions of dollars.
"These rules have also impeded innovation," Pai said. "We need to empower all Americans with digital opportunities, not deny them the benefits of greater access and competition."
"That's just not the case. There are record profits being made every year," said Avegno.
While Pai insists doing away with net neutrality will be best for consumers by allowing the free market to stimulate competition and, in turn, provide users with more internet access, some don't see it that way.
"It's kind a like if Entergy was able to decide which washing machine you bought and gave discounts based on your equipment," explained Avegno. "This is a very bad thing."
Avegno believes the vote will lead to more expensive internet service.
"It means that your internet bill is going to look a lot more like your cable bill and you're going to have to pay for packages to access the things you want to access," he said.
Yet, Sherman argues this issue is far from over.
"Expect litigation and bills on Capitol Hill. This challenges core, American values of free speech, should these Internet service providers be able to charge for content to get to your phone faster," said Sherman.
The FCC vote was three to two along party lines.
Many Republicans are applauding the decision.
Majority Whip Steve Scalise said in a statement, in part: "The vote is a big win for consumers and for internet freedom." He says net neutrality rules "have already harmed innovation and killed private investment."
Congressman Cedric Richmond, on the other hand, said: "I have always advocated for a free and open internet for all users where the best ideas, not the deepest pockets, succeed. Today's decision does not facilitate this priority."