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ISPs set to oppose US regulator’s attempts to impose greater controls

Warwick Ashford

US internet service providers are gearing up for battle after the US media regulator announced plans for stricter controls on the sector that will open the way for net neutrality.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is seeking to re-establish its authority after an appeals court in April stripped it of its authority to regulate broadband companies.

The court found the regulator had exceeded its authority in asking cable network provider Comcast to stop throttling BitTorrent peer-to-peer file-sharing traffic.

But the FCC plans to strengthen its powers by reclassifying broadband providers as a telecommunications service instead of an information service.

This will enable the regulator to enforce rate changes and unbundling on broadband companies as well as impose net neutrality regulations.

Google, Amazon and other content providers have long been pushing for net neutrality regulations to prevent telecoms firms from favouring or discriminating against certain types of content.

Verizon and AT&T have signalled they will mount a legal challenge to the FCC's move, according to the Financial Times.

In a bid to avoid a legal confrontation, FCC chairman Julius Genachowski has said the regulator will show restraint in exercising its proposed authority.

He said the FCC would retain a light touch with internet regulation.


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