After the campaign, protecting Net Neutrality had been perhaps the Obama administration's most progressive accomplishment. When a reluctant, telecom-controlled Congress refused to act to defend Net Neutrality, the FCC moved forward without them. Go ahead, try to think of other examples where the Obama administration went around Congress to fight corporate power--there might not be any others.
However, this point of light in the Obama administtraion may be fading. Faced with a court decision that requires the FCC to reverse a Bush-era ruling in order to protect Net Neutrality, the FCC appears ready not to reverse the old rule. Mcjoan presents a solid overview:
Last month, a federal appeals court ruled that the FCC had limited authority to regulate broadband services, and that it could not require broadband providers to adhere to network neutrality rules under its general authority to regulate telecommunications.
The ruling is a result, in part, of the FCC's decision in the 2002 Cable Modem Order "to treat broadband providers not as common carriers subject to regulation under Title II of the Federal Communications Act, but rather as 'information services' which would be subject to much less stringent regulations." The most straightforward response to this ruling, and the one that would ensure the ability of the FCC to enforce net neutrality, would be to revisit that 2002 decision, and treat broadband providers as common carriers and thus regulate them under their Title II authority.
But sources within the FCC say that FCC Chair Julius Genachowski is "leaning toward keeping the current regulatory framework for broadband services in place."
These are not idle rumors--a lot of open internet advocates are really freaked out about this.
Just three months ago, President Obama reiterated that he is a "big believer" in Net Neutrality. We will see if those words meant anything depending on what the FCC does, or not not do, in the coming days.