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FCC expected to repeal net neutrality rules on Thursday

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

(WASHINGTON) — The Federal Communication Commission could officially repeal the Obama-era “net neutrality” rules by publishing the order to the National Register on Thursday, according to three sources briefed on the matter, inevitably triggering a wave of opposing lawsuits from state attorneys general.

The National Register is the official journal of U.S. federal government regulations, and one source stressed the timing of the FCC’s publication could shift from Thursday.

The reversal is a hallmark victory for FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, whose tenure has seen him strongly advocate for reduced regulation in lockstep with the president who appointed him: Donald Trump.

Reversal supporters claimed the rules unnecessarily regulate the industry and impede the free market.

“It is not the job of the government to pick the winners and losers of the internet. … We should have a level playing field,” Pai said on December 14 when the FCC voted along party lines — three Republicans to two Democrats — to roll back the landmark net neutrality rules imposed in 2015 under President Barack Obama.

Those who support the net neutrality rules are more likely to find a resolution in federal court than Congress.

In the unlikely event that Democrats gain enough support in the House of Representatives within the 60-day deadline to overturn the decision, the president has already expressed support for the repeal and is unlikely to sign any opposing legislation.

A coalition of state attorneys general have signaled their intention to sue the FCC and block what they called an “illegal rollback of net neutrality” once the final rule is published by the FCC.

In order for that final rule to take effect, the White House Office of Management and Budget will have to sign off, which is expected to happen quickly.

The Office of Management and Budget did not immediately respond to an ABC News request for comment.

A number of prominent technology companies have voiced their opposition to the reversal, including Netflix, Amazon, Twitter and Microsoft.

A spokesperson for Pai did not respond to ABC News’ request for comment.

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