Read the FCC’s Two Dissenting Voices on Why Net Neutrality Matters

Today the Federal Communications Commission voted to overturn its rules banning internet service providers like Comcast and Verizon from blocking or discriminating against lawful content. In doing so, it effectively killed net neutrality. But not every FCC commissioner was on board.

The agencies’s two Democratic commissioners, Mignon Clyburn and Jessica Rosenworcel, lashed out against the order during the FCC’s open meeting today.

“I dissent because I am among the millions outraged,” said Clyburn, who served as the agency’s sole Democratic commissioner for much of the year. “Outraged because the FCC pulls its own teeth abdicating responsibility to protect the nation’s broadband consumers.”

Clyburn, first appointed to the commission in 2009, has been a vocal opponent of Republican FCC chair Ajit Pai’s agenda, including his moves to dismiss an investigation into whether AT&T and Verizon had engaged in anticompetitive behavior, loosen media ownership rules that limit the number of broadcasting stations a single company can own, and rollback a federal program that subsidizes phone and internet service for low income people.

Rosenworcel, who was first appointed to the FCC in 2012, but temporarily lost her seat early this year because Congress refused to vote on her renomination in 2016, was no less scathing. “I dissent from the corrupt process that has brought us to this point and I dissent from the contempt this agency has shown our citizens in pursuing this path today,” she said during the hearing.

Since returning to the commission in August, Rosenworcel has been an fierce critic of the new administration’s media and communications decisions. For example, she was quick to respond to President Donald Trump’s tweet asking if NBC’s broadcasting licenses could be pulled for running stories the president doesn’t like, even as Pai remained silent on the issue for days, and wrote an op-ed for WIRED calling for a delay in the FCC’s net neutrality vote until the agency, and New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman, investigated fraudulent comments submitted by bots.

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