17/12/2017 17:40 SAST | Updated 17/12/2017 20:03 SAST

France Promises To 'Defend Net Neutrality' In Wake Of FCC Vote In U.S.

Several U.S. allies have spoken up in support of a free and open internet.

In the aftermath of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission’s vote to repeal net neutrality last week, the French government has spoken up in support of a free and open internet.

Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said Friday that “France will continue to defend net neutrality despite whatever decisions are taken by other countries,” according to Reuters.  

“[Net neutrality] is a cardinal principle for the internet to be a space of openness and innovation,” Le Drian said in a speech about France’s overseas digital strategy. 

The FCC, with backing from the Trump administration, voted on Thursday to throw out regulations that require internet providers to treat all online content equally. Though the decision could still be challenged by Congress and in the courts, concerns are rife about how such a move could immediately impact consumers and small businesses.

Experts have also warned that the U.S. may be setting a dangerous precedent which other countries could follow. 

Other world leaders, including Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and India’s minister of law and justice, Ravi Shankar Prasad, have previously expressed their support of net neutrality.

In the weeks leading up to the FCC vote, Trudeau told Motherboard that the Trump administration’s push to repeal net neutrality “does not make sense.”

“I am very concerned,” the Canadian leader said.

Net neutrality is yet another issue on which the U.S. finds itself isolated from its allies. French President Emmanuel Macron made headlines last week for not inviting President Donald Trump to a global climate change conference in Paris attended by 50 other heads of state.