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AT&T faced heat from regulators over the unlimited plans. Photo: Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket via Getty Images

In a major victory for the Federal Trade Commission, a federal court is allowing its lawsuit to continue against AT&T over the internet giant’s alleged throttling of “unlimited” plans.

The bigger picture: The court's ruling affirms the FTC's authority to regulate part of a telecom company's operations. That bolsters the case among backers of the recent net neutrality repeal that the FTC is equipped to take the Federal Communication Commission’s place in policing internet providers.

The details:

  • The FTC sued AT&T for telling customers that some data plans were unlimited, but then slowing down speeds once they'd exceeded a certain data cap.
  • The FTC doesn't have jurisdiction over “common carriers,” like phone services, that are highly regulated. AT&T had argued that, because some of its business is considered a "common carrier," the FTC didn't have authority to take action.
  • A panel of judges from the Ninth Circuit’s U.S. Court of Appeals found that the FTC could regulate aspects of AT&T’s business that do not count as common carriers, even if other parts of its holdings do. That reversed an earlier court ruling in AT&T’s favor.

What it means: This could open the door to more net neutrality-related enforcement from the FTC. It also weakens the argument of some net neutrality supporters that the FCC is best positioned to police internet service providers.

What they’re saying: “Today’s decision on jurisdiction does not address the merits of the case. We are reviewing the opinion and continue to believe we ultimately will prevail,” said an AT&T spokesperson in a statement.

Go deeper

Updated 50 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Report: Pentagon watchdog finds Ronny Jackson drank on duty and harassed staff

Rep. Ronny Jackson walking through the Canon Tunnel to the U.S. Capitol in January. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images

Rep. Ronny Jackson (R-Texas) allegedly made "sexual and denigrating" comments about a female staffer, drank alcohol and took sleeping medication while working as White House physician, according to an official report obtained by CNN Tuesday night.

Driving the news: The Department of Defense inspector general's report stems from a years-long investigation. Jackson has called the allegations "false and fabricated."

DOJ pressed to enforce Al Jazeera foreign agent ruling

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The Justice Department is being pressed to enforce its own demand that the U.S. arm of Qatari broadcaster Al Jazeera register as a foreign agent.

Why it matters: The launch of Al Jazeera's new right-of-center U.S. media venture, Rightly, has refocused attention on the media company's alleged links to Doha, and DOJ's efforts to crack down on media outlets viewed as foreign interest mouthpieces.

Poll: Immigration is America's most-polarizing issue

Data: The American Aspirations Index/Populace; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

Immigration was found to be the most polarizing issue in America based on new polling from Populace.

Why it matters: Americans have surprisingly similar priorities for the U.S., but immigration stands out as one of the few issues with clear partisan differences. It underscores the challenge for advocates and lawmakers hoping to pass immigration reform in the coming weeks amid narrow margins in Congress.