2014-05-15T115521Z_4_CBREA4C1IEC00_RTROPTP_2_CTECH-US-USA-INTERNET-NEUTRALITY

Amid protests, FCC to vote on new 'net neutrality' proposal

Wheeler testifies before a Senate Appropriations Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee hearing on the FY2015 budget justification for the FCC, on Capitol Hill in WashingtonBy Alina Selyukh WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. telecommunications regulators will vote on Thursday on whether to formally propose new “net neutrality” rules that may let Internet service providers charge content companies for faster and more reliable delivery of their traffic to users. Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler has come under fire from consumer advocates and technology companies for proposing to allow some “commercially reasonable” deals where content companies could pay broadband providers to prioritize traffic on their networks. Critics worry the rules would create “fast lanes” for companies that pay up and mean slower traffic for others, although Wheeler has pledged to prevent “acts to divide the Internet between ‘haves’ and ‘have nots.'” Some 200 activists have said they plan to protest at the FCC on Thursday, joining a few hard core critics who have camped outside the agency for a week. Consumer advocates were also mobilizing Internet users to protest online on blogs and through social media.

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