The Federal Communications Commission voted three to two to change the way "net neutrality" is governed.
Internet service providers (ISPs) will now be allowed to speed up or slow down different companies' data, and charge consumers according to the services they access.
But they must disclose such practices.
Ahead of the vote, protesters rallied outside the FCC's building to oppose the change.
Many argue the reversal of rules introduced under President Barack Obama will make the internet less open and accessible.
The decision is already facing legal challenges, with New York's attorney general, Eric Schneiderman, announcing he will lead a lawsuit challenging the FCC's decision. (BBC)
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