This week brought the latest decision in the ongoing fight over "net neutrality" when the D.C. Circuit's Court of Appeals ruled that the FCC has the authority to treat internet service providers as "utilities" akin to telephone companies. This allows the FCC to regulate the ISP's as they currently do with telephone providers. One of the biggest issues is the FCC's ability to stop the ISP's from blocking or slowing down access to certain websites or content and from creating "fast lanes" to certain internet websites.
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said
After a decade of debate and legal battles, today's ruling affirms the Commission's ability to enforce the strongest possible internet protections - both on fixed and mobile networks - that will ensure the Internet remains open, now and in the future.
Unfortunately, this fight is far from over as AT&T announced they would be seeking review of this decision by the U.S. Supreme Court. However, there is no guarantee that the Supreme Court will choose to hear the case.
As this debate goes on, the net neutrality debate continues to center around whether our internet access is a "luxury" or a utility (like our phone system) and how it should be treated going forward.