The chairman of the Federal Communications Commission plans to announce Wednesday a controversial proposal that would prohibit Internet providers from favoring or discriminating against any traffic that goes over their networks.
He would do so, however, without resorting to the more drastic step of changing the way the FCC regulates broadband providers, a move that would have more clearly asserted the government’s authority over Internet access.
In a statement provided to reporters in advance of Wednesday’s announcement, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said he thinks he has “a sound legal basis” to pursue so-called net-neutrality rules that would prevent companies such as Verizon, Comcast and AT&T from blocking or serving up some Web sites faster and at better quality than others.
Last summer, Genachowski said he would move to reclassify broadband as something akin to more heavily regulated telephone service, after a federal appeals court threw the government’s position as Web access regulator into question. The court said in April that the FCC had no legal authority to sanction Comcast for blocking files shared through the BitTorrent application.
Broadband companies strongly resisted being reclassified, and now Genachowski has shifted his approach.
Read More: By Cecilia Kang, Washington Post