The Federal Communications Commission voted 3-to-2 Thursday to scrap a rule that prohibited Internet service providers from blocking or charging more for access to one website over another.

COURTESY PHOTO - Oregon Attorney General Ellen RosenblumSALEM — Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum said she plans to join a lawsuit to challenge the Federal Communications Commission's decision to repeal a rule barring Internet providers from blocking or charging more for to access to one website over another.

The FCC voted 3-to-2 along party lines to scrap the rule approved by the FCC in 2015. The commission's two Democrats voted against it.

"The decision today by the FCC to reverse course on net neutrality will have lasting negative impacts for our economy and almost every aspect of our lives," Rosenblum said. "We all rely on a free and open Internet, and we will no longer have an even playing field if we start to incentivize Big Cable over other companies."

The vote came despite calls from state attorneys general, consumer advocates, tech executives and even some Republican lawmakers to postpone or cancel the decision.

Rosenblum spearheaded a letter from 18 state attorneys general Tuesday to the FCC urging them to delay a vote until investigators could determine whether fraud was committed in the FCC comment process.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's Office has been investigating whether commenters to the FCC on the proposed rule change illegally used the identities of Americans from around the country to give feedback on net neutrality.

Schneiderman released new information Wednesday that his office had identified a total of 2 million fake comments on net neutrality to the FCC using stolen identities.

His office has a search engine where residents can look to see if their identity was used fraudulently in comments.

Oregon is one of more than a dozen states expected to join New York in launching a legal challenge of Thursday's FCC decision.

"I'm proud to stand up with other attorneys general and join New York to petition for review," Rosenblum said.

Supporters of the rule change argue that it will benefit consumers by spurring more competition between broadband providers and cutting Internet providers' expenses.

FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, one of the two FCC commissioners who voted against the rule change, told NPR's 'The Takeaway' Tuesday that half of U.S. households have only one choice for a broadband provider.

Paris Achen
Portland Tribune Capital Bureau
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