The Federal Communications Commission is holding an open meeting Thursday to hear and consider a number of issues as part of Chairman Ajit Pai's pilot program to make FCC rulings more transparent. The meeting began at 10:30 a.m. EDT and a live stream was available on CSPAN's website.

The schedule and draft materials from the meeting are also available for viewers looking for more information. The Commission began by hearing a presentation from the Public Safety & Homeland Security Bureau on the 911 outage AT&T experienced earlier in March. Net neutrality rules, or "Restoring internet Freedom," was scheduled to be the sixth issue heard. 

Read: The FCC Announced Its Plan For Rolling Back Net Neutrality Rules And Is Accepting Public Comments

What is net neutrality?

The net neutrality rules up for discussion were implemented under the Obama administration. The rules ensure that no website gets prioritization over another because of "slow lanes" or blocks and that paid prioritization does not become standard. The rules went into effect in June 2015. "They are ensuring consumers and businesses have access to a fast, fair, and open Internet," according to the FCC's website. The rules are frequently referred to "open internet" rules.

Why does Thursday’s hearing matter?

The commission will hear arguments and take a preliminary vote on repealing the Obama-era protections. The Commission will consider rulemaking that would “propose to restore the Internet to a light-touch regulatory framework by classifying broadband Internet access service as an information service and by seeking comment on the existing rules governing Internet service providers' practices,” the FCC agenda said. Pai is arguing the internet “flourished” under light-touch regulations for years before the 2015 rules were adopted. His FCC bio page says he believes in free markets that have "delivered more value to American consumers than highly regulated ones."

Lawmakers and even public figures like late night host John Oliver have spoken against the proposed rule changes. Last week Oliver did a segment on net neutrality and asked his fans to comment on the FCC’s site supporting the rules. The site subsequently crashed due to the overwhelming number of comments made.

Read: John Oliver And Net Neutrality: FCC Site Crashes After 'Last Week Tonight' Segment

Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, former acting chair of the FCC and the only Democrat on the commission, dissented on the net neutrality rule repeal. Clyburn stressed the importance of a fair internet where individuals can run their businesses, contact their doctors and connect with loved ones. Commissioner Michael O'Rielly who previously dissented on the rule change voted in favor of it Thursday.

Thursday's vote is the first step in fully repealing the regulations. The next step would be a four-month period of public comment.

Protests were planned for Thursday outside of the FCC. People were gathered outside during the meeting with signs and giving speeches. 

There were Congressional representatives in attendance as well.