US comms regulator FCC to regulate for net neutrality


US comms regulator FCC to regulate for net neutrality

Ian Grant

The US communications regulator, the FCC, is expected to announce its intention to stop internet service providers blocking or favouring online content.

The move would affirm US commitment to the principle of net neutrality.

Weekend reports suggested the FCC could introduce new regulations as soon as 15 December. Others said Republicans in Congress would veto them, believing Congress should rule on net neutrality.

President Barack Obama pledged to preserve net neutrality before his election.

Last week Ed Vaizey hinted he would tolerate "a two tier internet" where those who could afford it could pay for privileged online services - although he has since insisted that his words had been misinterpreted and that he is in favour of net neutrality.

Leading internet figures - such as the government's own internet adviser, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, and internet founder Vint Cerf - have voiced their support for net neutrality.

The Wall Street Journal's Washington Wire blog said the new rules could be based on Congressman Henry Waxman's plan presented earlier this year.

This would give the FCC limited authority as the "Internet cop". It would also ban mobile phone operators from blocking websites or applications that compete with carriers' phone and video services.

Large phone and cable companies and many consumer groups supported the Waxman plan.

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