House Votes Against FCC Net Neutrality Rules

The U.S. House of Representatives voted on Friday to disapprove Internet "neutrality" rules that were adopted last year to keep big Internet providers from blocking certain traffic

House Republicans, winning by a vote of 240 to 179, pushed through a measure against the U.S. Federal Communications Commission rule affecting tech and telecom giants ranging from Verizon Communications Inc (VZ.N) to Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O).

A similar measure has been offered in the U.S. Senate. However, the White House said on Monday that President Barack Obama's advisers would recommend he veto such a resolution.

The FCC rules, approved in late December, banned Internet service providers from blocking traffic on their networks, while allowing providers -- such as Verizon, Comcast Corp (CMCSA.O) and AT&T Inc (T.N) -- to "reasonably" manage their networks and charge consumers based on usage.

Republicans argued in House debate that the FCC's rules needlessly impose government regulation on the Internet.

"The FCC has never had the authority to regulate the Internet," said Republican Representative Cliff Stearns.

Democrats replied that the FCC rules are needed to curb the growing market power of large service providers.

Disapproving the FCC rules "would give big phone and cable companies control over what websites Americans can visit, what applications they can run, and what devices they can use," said Democratic Representative Henry Waxman.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia on Monday dismissed challenges to the FCC rules that had been filed by Verizon and MetroPCS Communications Inc (PCS.N), ruling that the challenges were premature.

"In most parts of the country, companies like Verizon, AT&T, and Comcast have a virtual monopoly over access to the Internet," Waxman said. "Without regulation, they can choke off innovation by charging for the right to communicate with their customers." (