The US Securities and Exchange Commission has required AT&T and other carriers to allow shareholders to vote on net neutrality in annual shareholder votes. The SEC decision comes in response to a proposal from at least one group, including Mike D of the Beastie Boys and two other AT&T shareholders, who argue that net neutrality has become the subject of prominent national discourse — their proposal requests that AT&T operate its wireless network without privileging, degrading, or prioritizing any packet transmitted over its network.
AT&T argues that net neutrality measures "would directly interfere with its network management practices and seriously impair its ability to provide wireless broadband service to its customers," and that such proposals are ineligible for shareholder voting because they interfere with day-to-day business operations. The SEC has supported the exclusion of net neutrality votes along the same lines, until now — AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint must now allow shareholders to request votes on net neutrality resolutions, given that net neutrality is a "significant policy consideration" in the public eye. The companies can sue to reverse the SEC's decision in court, but there's also the possibility that a majority of their shareholders won't actually agree to net neutrality measures.