The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to restore controversial net neutrality rules rescinded in 2017 during the administration of former President Donald Trump, a decision which could put it at odds with broadband service providers.

The regulations were approved by three of the five Commissioners and prohibit service providers from blocking or throttling broadband traffic, or creating pay-to-play fast lanes.

Like the original rules, the Spectrum and National Security Act of 2024 reclassifies broadband as a telecommunications service under Title II of the Communications Act of 1996, which gives the FCC regulatory oversight of internet providers.

The agency previously stated the updated rules would prevent broadband providers from selling consumers’ location data and other sensitive information. 

“Today’s vote also makes clear that the Commission will exercise its authority over broadband in a narrowly tailored fashion, without rate regulation, tariffing, or unbundling, to foster continued innovation and investment,” the FCC stated.

The FCC now has the authority to override state or local policies which conflict with the rules.

“We need broadband to reach 100 percent of us, and we need it fast, open, and fair,” stated FCC chair Jessica Rosenworcel, a member of the Democratic Party appointed by President Joe Biden.

Republican Party Commissioner Brendan Carr voted against the rules and stated broadband had “thrived in the absence of 1930s command-and-control regulation by the government”.

“The FCC has identified no gap in national security,” he noted.

Operators and industry associations have vehemently opposed the reinstatement of net neutrality.

Net neutrality rules were implemented in 2015 during President Barack Obama’s tenure.