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FCC seen proposing new broadband rules

By Aaron Smith, CNNMoney.com staff writer

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The Federal Communications Commission is expected to unveil a new proposal Thursday to require Internet service providers to give customers equal access to all available data, according to a published report.

FCC chairman Julius Genachowski is expected to outline his proposal to adopt Net neutrality rules for regulation of broadband lines, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The FCC has been trying to impose new regulations since 2005 that would force cable and phone companies such as Comcast (CMCSA, Fortune 500), AT&T (ATT) and Verizon (VZ, Fortune 500) to treat all Internet data equally. Last October, the FCC voted to move forward on crafting so-called "Net neutrality" rules.

But the rule-making was held up by a federal appeals court decision last month stating that the FCC does not have the authority to stop Internet provider Comcast from bottlenecking its customers' file sharing.

The case originated in 2007, when Comcast subscribers realized that the company was interfering with their ability to use peer-to-peer applications such as BitTorrent to swap files that consume large amounts of bandwidth. The court ruling said that Comcast defended the practice of interfering with the applications in order to manage scarce network capacity.

A Comcast spokeswoman downplayed the issue and denied that her company was blocking access.

The office of the FCC chairman did not immediately return a request for comment on the Journal report. To top of page

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