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Protesters rally outside the FCC headquarters before the vote. Photo: Carolyn Kaster / AP

The FCC voted Thursday along party lines to remove net neutrality rules that prohibited internet providers from giving preferential treatment to some web content — or blocking it entirely.

Why it matters: The repeal empowers internet providers like Comcast or AT&T to charge web services like Netflix or Facebook extra fees if they want to see their content delivered faster. They also have more leeway to favor content their subsidiaries produce, or to charge customers more to access certain websites.

The details:

  • The FCC voted to remove the three “bright line” rules: no blocking, no slowing down content, and no offering websites to deliver their content faster to customers if they pay for the privilege.
  • Internet providers will have to disclose their practices to customers and be subject to regulatory oversight from the Federal Trade Commission, which critics allege is too weak an agency for the job. The Department of Justice would also continue to be free to bring an antitrust case against providers.

The debate over FCC Chairman Ajit Pai's repeal plan has been deeply contentious. On Thursday morning, Maine Republican Sen. Susan Collins became the most prominant Republican lawmaker to call for the vote to be cancelled. Democratic comissioners have alleged the public input process was corrupted by fraudulent comments. And protesters convened outside of the FCC's building ahead of the vote.

What's next?: The rollback will likely be challenged in court. And some in Congress are pushing hard for a legislative fix to settle the issue once and for all or a bill to outright strip the repeal from the books.

Go deeper: What the internet landscape could look like now that the rules have been repealed.

Go deeper

Updated 2 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: CDC director says number of U.S. Omicron cases "likely to rise" — Two years of COVID-19 — Prior coronavirus infections may not protect well against Omicron.
  2. Vaccines: Data demonstrates most-vaccinated counties less vulnerable to worst of COVID — Omicron adds urgency to vaccinating world — Omicron fuels the case for COVID boosters.
  3. Politics: Nevada to impose insurance surcharge on unvaccinated state workers — New Jersey GOP lawmakers defy statehouse COVID policy — Oklahoma sues Biden administration over Pentagon vaccine mandate.
  4. World: Vaccine mandates lose steam in the U.S. while Europe doubles downWHO: Delta health measures help fight Omicron — COVID cases surge in South Africa in sign Omicron wave is coming.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.
Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Bipartisan tributes flood in for "giant of the Senate" Bob Dole

Then-Vice President Joe Biden and former Sen. Bob Dole at an event put on by the World Food Program where he was awarded the first “McGovern-Dole Leadership Award” in December 2013. Photo: Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call

Republican and Democratic politicians, including former Senate colleagues, are sharing condolences and memories commemorating the life of Bob Dole, who passed away at 98 on Sunday morning.

The big picture: Dole, the Republican presidential nominee in 1996, was the longest serving Republican leader in the Senate until 2018, when current Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell surpassed his record.

Former Sen. David Perdue to launch bid for Georgia governor

Photo: Megan Varner/Getty Images

Former Senator David Perdue (R) plans to announce a campaign against Georgia's incumbent Republican Gov. Brian Kemp Monday, according to a source familiar with Perdue's thinking.

Why it matters: Perdue's challenge to his former ally Kemp sets up an unprecedented "scorched earth" battle between Georgia Republicans fueled by former President Donald Trump, in the battleground state. The news was first reported by Politico.