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FCC to try again to set open-Internet rules

U.S. federal regulators will once again try to set rules that make sure broadband providers do not block or slow access to content on the Internet, or charge content providers like Netflix or Amazon for faster Web service.

The Federal Communications Commission's plan for new so-called "Net neutrality" rules comes a month after a U.S. court struck down their previous iteration.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in January said the FCC, in adopting the 2010 open-Internet order, improperly treated Internet service providers as regulated public utilities providing telecommunications services, like telephone companies, while they were actually classified as information service providers.

But the court did affirm that the FCC had authority to regulate broadband as it oversees its expansion and competitiveness of services, giving the agency new legal opportunity to bring back nondiscrimination and no-blocking regulations for Internet service providers.

FCC commissioners will now negotiate a new version of the rules that would ensure that network operators disclose exactly how they manage Internet traffic and that they do not restrict consumers' ability to surf the Web or use applications.

Virtually all large Internet service providers, in the wake of January's ruling, pledged to continue abiding by the principles of open Internet.

But consumer advocates worry that without properly reclassifying broadband providers, the FCC leaves the door open for backdoor deals that would give unequal treatment to websites or services. -- Reuters

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