So if the court once again shoots down the FCC's ability to enforce even modest net neutrality restrictions, the issue will head back to both Congress and to the court of public opinion, where net neutrality advocates say they've been making progress in raising awareness.
Marvin Ammori, the general counsel for net neutrality advocates Free Press, sees reasons for optimism in the battle for public opinion, since last year's joint net neutrality proposal from Google and Verizon gave the issue far more visibility than anything it had received in the past. Additionally, he notes that all carriers feel they need to at least pay lip service to delivering an open Internet even if they oppose net neutrality rules.
"That the public is even vaguely informed of a threat to an open Internet, and reacted so negatively to the Verizon-Google deal will make it harder for a future FCC to ignore net neutrality," he says. "All the carriers go around saying they support an open Internet [despite the fact that] they oppose the rules."
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