U.S. regulators banned Internet service providers led by AT&T Inc. and Comcast Corp. from blocking or slowing Web content sent to homes and businesses, while allowing mobile phone companies to put limits on traffic.
The Federal Communications Commission approved the so- called net-neutrality rules by a vote of three to two today. Supporters argued that Internet providers, which also own some of the content they deliver online, might interfere with videos and services owned by others such as Google Inc.
The agency also affirmed that providers may charge subscribers based on how much data they consume. The pricing issue has become more important as companies including Netflix Inc. stream movies and other data-hungry content over the Web.
The rules create “a strong and sensible framework” that “protects Internet freedom and openness,” FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, a Democrat appointed by President Barack Obama, said before the vote. “We’re adopting a framework that will increase certainty for businesses, investors and entrepreneurs.”
Commissioner Meredith Atwell Baker, one of two Republicans to vote against the regulations, called the rules an overreach.
“There is no factual basis to support government intervention,” she said. “The majority’s approach will inhibit the ability of networks to freely evolve and experiment.”
--Editors: Allan Holmes, Bernie Kohn
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