The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on Thursday voted to ease some regulations on the market that provides secure data lines to businesses.
The proposal had drawn criticism from small business and consumer advocates, who said deregulating the market would hurt competition and drive up prices for the services.
But FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, a Republican, argued that regulating prices in the market “threatens competition and investment.”
The measure passed on a 2-to-1 vote, with Democratic Commissioner Mignon Clyburn dissenting. Clyburn called it an “all-out assault” on the small businesses and other organizations that rely on the services.
“This order is one of the worst I have seen in my more than eight years here at the commission,” Clyburn said in scathing dissenting remarks.
Democrats aren't the only ones expressing concerns about Pai’s move.
Republican members of the Arkansas Republican delegation urged the chairman to implement a transition period to allow small businesses to prepare for the possibility of rate hikes. And the European Union sent the FCC a letter outlining its concerns that the effort to deregulate the market could hurt both consumers and smaller competitors.
This story was updated at 12:41 p.m.