Bomb Threat Briefly Halted FCC's Net Neutrality Hearings

On Thursday, the Federal Communications Commission voted 3-2 to repeal an Obama-era classification that declared the internet as a public utility. As protesters gathered to protest the change, the meeting was evacuated for about 10 minutes before the vote.

Commission Chairman Ajit Pai called the evacuation "advice from security," and said the hearing resumed after dogs checked the building.

The Daily Mail reports that an FCC official said police were concerned after a bomb threat was called in.

The 3-2 vote by the FCC along party lines decided the repeal comes after President Trump's appointed Pai argued in May that the rules hamper broadband investment. Instead, he introduced a repeal proposal as a way stop the federal government from "micromanaging the internet."

Under the rules of net neutrality, internet service providers (ISPs) may not charge customers premium prices to use movie-streaming sites or pages that promote a specific agenda.

Supporters of an open internet claim it keeps the web accessible to all people, regardless of their socioeconomic status. Without these rules, they believe ISPs could censor content or charge additional fees for usage at their own discretion.

Among those supporters are some of the country's largest web companies, including Google, Netflix and Twitter, who believe internet users should be given free reign to the web without fear of fees.

Opponents of net neutrality argued that the rules are unnecessary, squashing potential job creation and free market competition from large and small companies alike.

Among those who oppose the FCC's regulations that were overturned on Thursday are big-name service providers, including AT&T and Verizon. Both claimed that while they support an open web space, the public utility classification does not ultimately support a free internet.

Netflix spoke out against the FCC's decision on Thursday afternoon promising a legal battle to fight the vote.

"We're disappointed in the decision to gut #NetNeutrality protections that ushered in an unprecedented era of innovation, creativity & civic engagement. This is the beginning of a longer legal battle. Netflix stands [with] innovators, large & small, to oppose this misguided FCC order," the streaming platform wrote in a statement on Twitter.


Netflix's tweet prompted some strong reactions from fans, many of whom suggested that the streaming service would not be affected negatively by the rollback. To that, the online company replied that the issue they support is more far-reaching.

"This isn't only about Netflix. Without #NetNeutrality, we would never have been able to grow into the business we have today. There's a whole future of startups that deserve that chance," Netflix wrote.