Net neutrality is making a comeback as the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) plans to reinstate rules that require broadband providers to treat all traffic equally. FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel emphasized the importance of broadband as essential infrastructure and stated that it must be fast, open, and fair. The FCC seeks to return to the successful net neutrality rules adopted in 2015, classifying broadband as essential, just like water, power, and phone service. The principle of net neutrality ensures that internet providers do not prioritize certain data or throttle competitors’ services while giving preference to their own.
Under the leadership of Ajit Pai, the FCC overturned net neutrality in 2017. However, with the appointment of Anna Gomez as the fifth commissioner, Democrat Rosenworcel now has the opportunity to address the issue. Some states have attempted to implement their own net neutrality rules, but the matter has largely been left for the FCC to decide. Chairwoman Rosenworcel is expected to establish net neutrality in a more permanent way, potentially addressing any loose threads from the previous order. There may be resistance from dissenting commissioners and opposition from the political right, framing this as an infringement on corporations’ free speech rights. Given the controversial nature of the topic, ultimately, net neutrality may reach the Supreme Court for a final ruling.
In conclusion, the FCC’s plan to reinstate net neutrality rules is a significant development in the ongoing battle for an open and fair internet. FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel emphasizes the essential nature of broadband and the need for fast, open, and fair access. By returning to the 2015 net neutrality rules, the FCC aims to ensure that broadband providers treat all traffic equally and do not prioritize or throttle certain services. While opposition may arise from dissenting commissioners and political adversaries, the appointment of Anna Gomez as the fifth commissioner presents an opportunity for net neutrality to gain permanent status. The future of net neutrality may eventually be decided by the Supreme Court, potentially leading to a second legal drubbing for opponents of the principle.