The US Federal Communications Commission began proceedings to reestablish open access to the Internet, commonly called Net Neutrality.
This topic has been a closely watched tug-of-war between the two legal sides for the last decade.
At the heart of the matter is how the government classifies ISPs that provide Internet access to millions of homes.
During the Obama presidency, ISPs were classified as Title II “common carriers,” which means that the FCC has considerable latitude in ensuring that ISPs don’t prioritize certain clients or types of traffic over others.
When Donald Trump became president, his FCC lead Ajit Pal made it a priority to revert to treating ISPs as information providers, a category which the FCC has virtually no control over.
Joe Biden made the reversal of that decision a priority when he was elected, but it has taken his administration several years to successfully get an FCC head approved by the Republican-held Congress.
So why is this a big issue?
Large ISPs like Verizon, ATT, and Comcast are very entrenched in removing any and all regulations by the FCC in how they prioritize their clients and charge for these services.
Proponents of Net Neutrality believe that all traffic should be treated equally without prioritization for those who pay more.
The ISPs attempted to drum up outrage against government oversite but a lawsuit brought against them in New York charged that the advocacy group paid for by the ISPs, Broadband for America, falsified comments on public forums to sway public sentiment.
The case was ultimately settled out of court proving that nearly nine million comments advocating for the removal of Net Neutrality rules were falsely posted by three social media companies hired by the advocacy group.
The proceedings by the FCC are the first step toward the switch back to Net Neutrality and will take several months to pass.