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FCC To Propose New Net Neutrality Rules; Wireless Operators Will Be Affected Too

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski will give a speech on Monday that will outline new net neutrality rules, which will dictate how internet and wireless providers treat or restrict the flow of content, according to several reports who are familiar with the speech.

Reuters reports the proposed rules could potentially be applied at a October meeting. The WSJ reports that the rules will be extended to both the wired and wireless arms of telecom and cable giants, such as AT&T (NYSE: T), Verizon (NYSE: VZ) and Comcast (NSDQ: CMCSA). Today, wireless networks monitor network traffic, and sometimes ban heavy-bandwidth applications, like video and file sharing services, to ensure network quality. Under the new proposal that may have to change.

Internet commerce companies and consumers have applauded such actions, however, operators have winced at the prospects of having to roll out bigger and more expensive pipes to handle the additional traffic. The WSJ said according to unnamed sources, the FCC’s plans are supposed to take into account the limitations faced by wireless carriers.

In a statement, CTIA, the wireless industry association, said it is waiting to read the proposal, but that they are concerned “about the unintended consequences that net neutrality regulation would have on investments from the very industry that’s helping to drive the U.S. economy.” released a statement: Chris Guttman-McCabe, CTIA’s vp of regulatory affairs, continued: “We believe that this kind of regulation is unnecessary in the competitive wireless space as it would prevent carriers from managing their networks — such as curtailing viruses and other harmful content — to the benefit of their consumers.”

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