The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) plans to vote in February on new rules regulating how broadband providers treat traffic on their networks, the Wall Street Journal reports, citing agency officials. The watchdog has been under pressure to change broadband internet access from a lightly-regulated information service to a utility-like common carrier service, which would subject providers to more stringent regulation. Amongst other things, such a change would allow the FCC to ban internet service providers (ISPs) from blocking, slowing down or speeding up access to certain websites.
Among those pushing for such a change is President Barack Obama, who in November urged the regulator to take the public utility route, prompting widespread consternation among ISPs. In November the WSJ quoted FCC chairman Tom Wheeler as saying: ‘The big dogs are going to sue, regardless of what comes out. We need to make sure that we have sustainable rules, and that starts with making sure that we have addressed the multiple issues that come along and are likely to be raised.’