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story.lead_photo.caption FILE - In this Friday, Aug. 9, 2013, file photo, Federal Communications Commission Commissioner Ajit Pai speaks during an FCC meeting in Washington. The FCC is voting Thursday, Dec. 14 to undo Obama-era “net neutrality” rules that guaranteed equal access to the internet. The industry promises that the internet experience isn’t going to change, but the issue has struck a nerve. Protests have erupted online and in the streets as everyday Americans worry that companies like Comcast, Verizon and AT&T will be able to control what they see and do online. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

In a vote along party lines, the federal government has ended sweeping net-neutrality rules that guaranteed equal access to the internet.

The Thursday vote at the Federal Communications Commission will likely usher in big changes in how Americans use the internet, a radical departure from more than a decade of federal oversight. The move not only rolls back restrictions that keep broadband providers like Comcast, Verizon and AT&T from blocking or collecting tolls from services they don't like, but bars states from imposing their own rules.

The broadband industry promises that the internet experience isn't going to change, but its companies have lobbied hard to overturn these rules. Protests have erupted online and in the streets as everyday Americans worry that cable and phone companies will be able to control what they see and do online.

That growing public movement suggests that the FCC vote won't be the end of the issue. Opponents of the move plan legal challenges, and some net-neutrality supporters hope to ride that wave of public opinion into the 2018 elections.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, a Republican who said his plan to repeal net neutrality will eliminate unnecessary regulation, called the internet the "greatest free-market innovation in history." He added that it "certainly wasn't heavy-handed government regulation" that's been responsible for the internet's "phenomenal" development.

"What is the FCC doing today?" he asked. "Quite simply, we are restoring the light-touch framework that has governed the internet for most of its existence."

Under the new rules, the Comcasts and AT&Ts of the world will be free to block rival apps, slow down competing service or offer faster speeds to companies who pay up. They just have to post their policies online or tell the FCC.

The change also axes consumer protections, bars state laws that contradict the FCC's approach, and largely transfers oversight of internet service to another agency, the Federal Trade Commission.

Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, a Democrat who was appointed by President Barack Obama, lambasted the "preordained outcome" of the vote that she says hurts people, small and large businesses, and marginalized populations. She outlined her dissent from prepared remarks before the vote.

The end of net neutrality, she said, hands over the keys to the internet to a "handful of multi-billion dollar corporations."

With their vote, the FCC's majority commissioners are abandoning the pledge they took to make a rapid, efficient communications service available to all people in the U.S., without discrimination, Clyburn said in her dissenting remarks before the vote.

Read Friday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.

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  • dunk7474
    December 14, 2017 at 12:41 p.m.

    The Reppubies continue to shoot themselves in the rectum. What a bunch of dimwits. Screw the people is their motto.

  • 3WorldState1
    December 14, 2017 at 12:46 p.m.

    Let me get this straight. We use tax payer dollars to invent the internet. And now we are just going to give it over to the largest corporation on earth? Or let me ask it like this. Do you think you should be able to open your browser and go where ever you want on the internet? Or do you want AT@T to tell you where you can go?
    Republicans are seriously the worst for Americans. At least terrible for the 99%. Just total sellout, douche bags.

  • TimberTopper
    December 14, 2017 at 1:47 p.m.

    The Republican Party has become the Communist Party. By making this move they can control what information Americans are fed. When you control that, you control minds.

  • caidon4
    December 14, 2017 at 2:29 p.m.

    I am making $86/h working on Computer. I was shocked when my Friend told me she was averaging $95 but I see how it works now.. This is what I do>> ...... w­w­w.T­a­g­3­0.c­o­m

  • KnuckleBall
    December 14, 2017 at 2:43 p.m.

    First step in getting rid of free speech. Burning books will be next.

  • Popsmith
    December 14, 2017 at 2:58 p.m.

    I guess it's time to go back to smoke signals to get untampered mews.

  • BoudinMan
    December 14, 2017 at 5 p.m.

    Why is it that everytime the teabaggers make a move, it hurts the average American? And the common people gladly vote these guys into office on a regular basis. Thanks, teabaggers.

  • gagewatcher
    December 14, 2017 at 5:25 p.m.

    and grandma is going to die people will get sick as there will be no medicine or doctors.. WWIII will begin. and lets not forget the Russians invading! and was it not just one and a half years ago that mr Obama wanted to give away the US control of the internet to the Globe ?
    thank the good lord that was stopped. what were the dems thinking ? or not ?

  • Packman
    December 14, 2017 at 7:05 p.m.

    Hey Timber - You make Newman (Seinfeld) proud. When you control the mail........ Moron.

  • wildblueyonder
    December 14, 2017 at 7:32 p.m.

    Undoing anything Obama did is a very good thing.