DONALD Trump has handed control of the Internet to big business after controversially abandoning net neutrality rules.
The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted along party lines yesterday to repeal rules that guarantee a fair and open internet.
Trump appointee and FCC chairman Ajit Pai’s cast the decisive vote yesterday, marking a victory for internet service providers such as AT&T, Comcast and Verizon by handing them power over what content consumers can access – and what speed.
The old Obama-era rules were intended to give consumers equal access to the web and stop broadband providers from favouring their own content.
And the move has caused uproar, with vocal critics including British web inventor Sir Tim Berners-Lee who branded it a “disaster”.
Internet giants including Google and Facebook had also lobbied against the repeal, which would allow service providers to slow access or charge more for certain kinds of content.
Democrats are now threatening to take the battle to court as apart of a multi-state lawsuit.
FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, a Democrat, said the decision grants internet providers “extraordinary new power”.
She warned: ”They have the technical ability and business incentive to discriminate and manipulate your internet traffic.
“And now this agency gives them the legal green light to go ahead.”
The new rules give internet providers sweeping powers to change how consumers access the internet but must have new transparency requirements that will require them to disclose any changes to consumers.
The FCC said the changes would take effect in a few months after the White House Office of Management and Budget formally approves them.
White House spokesman Sarah Sanders said the administration supported “the FCC’s efforts”.
She said: “At the same time, the White House certainly has and always will support a free and fair internet.”