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Mike Adkins at a net neutrality protest in February, 2018. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

The net neutrality litigation cycle continues Friday as a three-judge panel considers a challenge to the Federal Commission Commission repeal of its own previous regulations for internet providers.

Why it matters: From AT&T's purchase of Time Warner to Comcast's Netflix competitor, internet service providers are increasingly getting into the content game, raising questions about whether they will try to use their pipes to boost their content businesses.

The bottom line: Net neutrality backers, which includes public interest groups and tech companies, want to see the repeal struck down — restoring regulations from 2015. The FCC wants things to stay as they are.

  • The case is being heard by three DC Circuit Court of Appeals judges: Patricia Millett, Robert Wilkins and Stephen Williams.

The panel of judges is facing multiple questions:

  • Did the FCC rightfully change broadband's status under the law? In 2015, the agency treated it more like a utility, which gave it more authority to ban practices like blocking, throttling or creating fast lanes for content. The FCC will say the Supreme Court affirmed its authority to treat internet service providers the way it did and that this lower court shouldn't contradict its ruling.
  • Was the process the FCC used to repeal the rules appropriate? Regulators aren't allowed to make rules that are "arbitrary and capricious" and the FCC's opponents say that's exactly what happened. The FCC will say it met its obligations.

What they're saying: Both sides are — no surprise — projecting optimism.

  • "We are confident that the Restoring Internet Freedom Order will be upheld in court," said FCC chief of staff Matthew Berry in a statement.
  • “Net neutrality is an essential consumer protection that everyone online deserves, and this case is the fight to save it," said Danelle Dixon, the chief operating officer of Mozilla, the named plaintiff battling the FCC in court.

Go deeper

U.K. sends patrol ships to British island amid fishing dispute with France

The HMS Tamar, one of the two ships deployed to Jersey. Photo: Finnbarr Webster/Getty Images

The United Kingdom's government announced Wednesday it has deployed two Royal Navy patrol vessels to the island of Jersey "as a precautionary measure," as tensions over fishing rights escalate with France.

Why it matters: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in a statement the government took the action to protect Jersey against threats of "a blockade" of French fishing boats at the island, which is off the coast of northwest France.

Social media's "in-kind contribution to Biden"

Photo illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Facebook's continued suspension of Donald Trump's account extends the silencing of Joe Biden's most potent critic — and the current president's control over the national political narrative into his second 100 days.

Why it matters: Biden has been able to successfully focus on COVID-19 relief, his infrastructure plan and fielding his new administration, in part, because Trump hasn't been able to shake his social media muzzle and bray about the migration crisis or any White House misstep.

5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Liz Cheney's long game

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) is all but rolling out the red carpet for her own ouster as House GOP conference chair next week and her expected replacement with Trump defender Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.).

Why it matters: Cheney’s political falling out with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) is the ultimate proxy war between Republicans who remain beholden to a former president who falsely claims the election was stolen from him, or breaking free from Donald Trump to refocus on traditional conservative values.