The Federal Communications Commission voted Thursday to overturn a 2015 ruling that blocked the FCC from enacting the rules, which sought to limit Internet providers from blocking websites or charging websites to speed up their services.
The FCC’s decision, which had been expected for days, was cheered by a broad coalition of Internet service providers, technology companies and privacy groups, but also alarmed lawmakers, privacy advocates and others.
The vote came as the White House warned that the FCC could be forced to change its approach to net neutrality under the Trump administration.
The rules were written by an Obama-appointed panel and were meant to keep the Internet open and free, but were overturned by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in June.
The panel found that the rules did not go far enough in curbing Internet providers’ ability to discriminate against content and other websites.
The decision was a victory for privacy advocates, who said the FCC was attempting to preempt a constitutional right of Americans to access online content without a connection to the Internet.
The panel ruled that the 2016 ruling was invalid.
The commission has since appealed the decision.
“I would hope that the court would reconsider their decision, but I don’t know that they’re going to,” FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel said.
“I think it’s a pretty strong ruling, but it’s certainly not binding.”
The FCC’s action came as Congress is preparing to vote on an overhaul of the nation’s telecoms regulation.
The move came as President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence are expected to announce the administration’s new approach to broadband regulations.
The administration wants to reclassify broadband providers as common carriers under Title II of the Telecommunications Act, which allows them to provide Internet access.
The rules would also expand rules on how the Federal Communications Commissions rules are enforced, allowing them to enforce stricter regulations on internet service providers.
The White House and broadband companies say the FCC should revisit the rules as a way to improve broadband access.
Pai, a Republican, has previously said he would review the 2016 rules.
The ruling came as FCC Chairman Ajit Pai announced plans to take over as the chairman of the commission.
Pai was confirmed to the position in February.
He has vowed to roll back net neutrality, which prohibits broadband providers from charging websites or other websites to slow down traffic or to prioritize certain websites over others.
Pai said during the 2016 debate that he would consider reclassifying broadband providers under Title I of the Communications Act, meaning they would not be subject to the FCC regulations.