Net neutrality (or network neutrality) is the idea that internet service providers (ISPs), such as Verizon or Comcast, should not be able to block or prioritize different sorts of data. The Ninth Circuit, which is comprised of Alaska, Arizona, California, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Northern Mariana Islands, Oregon, and Washington state, is the largest Court of Appeals in the United States both in population and land mass. Recently, the Ninth Circuit ruled in a case that net neutrality requirements applied to internet service providers in those states. This decision put to test the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia’s 2019 decision of Mozilla v. FCC, which ruled that states would be able to create regulations regarding net neutrality.
On November 21, 2017, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai announced his intent to roll back utility-style regulations on internet service providers promulgated in 2015. This issue will be called for a vote on December 14 at the FCC’s open meeting. President Obama pressured the FCC to promulgate rules to regulate the internet as a public utility and preserve “net neutrality.” The FCC’s proposed repeal of these rules would restore internet service provider regulations to the framework established by the Telecommunications Act of 1996. This recent proposal has been divisive along party lines, and the FCC has reported receiving more than 22 million comments.
On May 18, 2017, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted 2-1 to initiate the process of rolling back net neutrality provisions put in place by the Obama administration designed to keep the Internet open and fair. The FCC Chairman’s proposal will end the “utility-style strict regulatory approach that gives government control of the Internet.” The current FCC intends to implement market-based policies designed to preserve Internet freedom and reverse declining infrastructure investment, innovation, and options for consumers it argues resulted from the FCC’s actions in 2015.