United States Federal Communications Commissioner Ajit Pai announced Tuesday his proposal to repeal net neutrality protections passed in 2015. Chairman Pai introduced the proposal in an op-ed published in the Wall Street Journal, in which he called the current net neutrality rules put in place during the Obama administration “heavy-handed internet regulations” that have stifled broadband network expansion and investment.

According to Pai, the decision to pass the Open Internet Order in 2015—which reclassified internet service providers as common carriers under Title II of the Communications Act and provided the FCC with the legal framework to regulate the companies—has left millions of Americans “on the wrong side of the digital divide” without broadband access.

Tech Responds To Net Neutrality Repeal

Despite Chairman Pai’s insistence that his plan would return the power of the internet to creators and innovators, many of the companies that have come to prominence thanks to the accessibility provided by the internet have voiced opposition to the proposal.

“We are disappointed that the proposal announced today by the FCC fails to maintain the strong net neutrality protections that will ensure the internet remains open for everyone,” Erin Egan, vice president of U.S. public policy for Facebook told International Business Times. “We will work with all stakeholders committed to this principle.”

Netflix, which has grown to such prominence in recent years that it is estimated to account for more than 37 percent of internet traffic in North America, also took issue with the FCC Chairman’s proposal. "Netflix supports strong net neutrality. We oppose the FCC's proposal to roll back these core protections," a spokesperson for Netflix told IBT.

Google also took issue with the plan. A spokesperson for the company said, "the FCC’s net neutrality rules are working well for consumers and we’re disappointed in the proposal announced today."

A spokesperson for Reddit said the company is “actively monitoring” the FCC’s proposed rule changes that could “dismantle net neutrality” in its current form.

“From farmers in South Dakota to musicians in Kentucky to small business owners in Utah, net neutrality is just as important to redditors as it is to Reddit and we will continue to advocate for and work constructively to maintain a free and open Internet,” the spokesperson said. “It is crucial to innovation and the health of our economy that small businesses have equal access to the internet, with winners and losers chosen by consumers, not ISPs.”

Denelle Dixon-Thayer, the chief legal and business officer for the Mozilla Foundation, warned in a statement that the potential rollback of net neutrality protections “would end the internet as we know it, harming every day users and small businesses, eroding free speech, competition, innovation and user choice in the process.”

Dixon-Thayer said the changes proposed by the FCC would “only benefit” internet service providers and urged the FCC and Chairman Pai “protect net neutrality and keep this vote off its docket.”

Pai’s net neutrality proposal would undo the Title II classification for ISPs, stripping the FCC’s ability to enforce net neutrality rules that prevent carriers from slowing or throttling internet speeds, blocking content and offering more favorable access to companies that are willing to pay for it.

Instead, Pai explained in his op-ed, the FCC would only require ISPs to “be transparent so that consumers can buy the plan that’s best for them.” The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) would take up the responsibility of policing ISPs and protecting consumers. “Instead of being flyspecked by lawyers and bureaucrats, the internet would once again thrive under engineers and entrepreneurs,” Pai wrote.

It is worth noting that FTC does not have clear legal authority to regulate internet service providers. Because most ISPs also provide mobile or fixed telephone service, which is considered a common carrier service, they would still be considered common carriers under the law and would be exempted from the FTC’s oversight.

The Internet Association—which represents a number of major tech firms including Amazon, Microsoft, eBay, Spotfiy, Snapchat, Twitter and many others—also expressed disappointment in the FCC’s plan.

"Chairman Pai's proposal, if implemented, represents the end of net neutrality as we know it and defies the will of millions of Americans who support the 2015 Open Internet Order,” Internet Association President and CEO Michael Beckerman said in a statement. “This proposal undoes nearly two decades of bipartisan agreement on baseline net neutrality principles that protect Americans' ability to access the entire internet.”

Beckerman said the current protections “guarantee consumers access to the entire internet and preserve competition online” while Pai’s proposal “fails to achieve” any of those objectives. “Internet Association and our members will continue our work to ensure net neutrality protections remain the law of the land," he said.

Despite Chairman Pai’s insistence that small internet providers have been particularly harmed by the Title II classification, at least one small ISP contested those claims. Dane Jasper, the CEO and co-founder of independent internet service provider Sonic, told IBT the plan to roll back net neutrality protections “marks a significant step backwards for consumers and casts a dark shadow over prospects for unlimited, open access to the internet.”

“A competitive market is necessary for customers to have the best service at an affordable price. Instead of favoring the consumer, Pai’s plan will only serve to put more power in the hands of internet service incumbents, stunting innovation and growth," he said.

When Is Net Neutrality Vote?

The FCC will vote on the proposal to roll back net neutrality protections on Dec. 14.