Net neutrality has become a common expression thanks to the National Cable & Telecommunications Association v. Brand X Internet Services, which determined that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) had the power to classify the Internet service as an information service or a telecommunications service, even though that decision was not necessarily in accordance with the facts.
The case began in 2002 with pressure from cable and telephone operators to have their businesses exempted by the FCC from the competitive requirements of the Telecommunications Act, which requires telecommunications services to sell access to their networks. to the public. The FCC required it, ruling that Internet access was not a telecommunications service, which allowed the telephone companies to have their own tariff advantages for internal operations over external competitors and to reduce them. exempt from having to offer access to their data lines with competitors. These policies would be illegal if the phone companies were forced to act as public carriers, and this has led many parties to challenge the FCC’s ruling in court.
Ultimately, the courts ruled by appeal that, yes, the FCC can classify the Internet service as an information service or a telecommunications service. As a result, cable companies are free to refuse to share their networks with competing ISPs.