The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted 2-1 on Thursday to consider Chairman Ajit Pai’s proposal to restore internet freedom and to repeal the present Net Neutrality regulations put in place in 2015 by the Obama administration. According to the BBC, Americans and technology firms have been filing objections to the FCC’s proposal prior to the vote, but Pai feels the repeal was the right move.

FCC proposal to end open internet

Ajit Varadaraj Pai's Restoring Internet Freedom proposal would repeal the Obama-era net neutrality protections. The plan undermines the current rules by undoing the basis of the regulations.

Pai thinks the industry should be allowed to police itself and that the regulations have been holding back ISPs from expanding and upgrading. His proposal has been aggressively opposed by individuals, businesses and advocacy groups, and some have showed up on Thursday to protest the FCC’s decision to accept Pai’s proposal. They argue that without net neutrality services will be slow and cost would increase.

Open comment period

After the vote is a period of open comment where the FCC invites public comment on whether or not it should dismantle the rules. Advocacy groups will likely take advantage of the period to file comments in support of the rules. More than 1 million statements in support of net neutrality were already filed on the FCC website before Thursday’s vote.

HBO host John Oliver has started encouraging his viewers to get involved in the commenting period by visiting the gofccyourself website, a site that redirects to information about the Restoring Internet Freedom. Americans have until mid-August to share their views with the FCC.

Pro-net neutrality groups

The demonstrations on Thursday were attended by groups such as Free Press, the American Civil Liberties Union, Electronic Frontier Foundation and Color for Change who rallied against Pai’s plan.

The groups brought a display of a large figure in a suit plastered with stickers for AT&T, Verizon, and other companies, along with puppets of President Trump and Ajit Pai.

Supporters of net neutrality have long argued that lobbyists from the telecommunications industry are driving the initiative. David Cohen, Comcast’s senior vice president, for example, was quoted applauding the plan, calling the move to be one that is “pro-consumer, pro-investment, and pro-innovation.”