Update at 1:30 p.m. ET: "A divided Federal Communications Commission has approved new rules meant to prohibit broadband companies from interfering with Internet traffic flowing to their customers," the Associated Press reports. "The 3-2 vote Tuesday marks a major victory for FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, who has spent more than a year trying to craft a compromise."
Our original post:
There's important news ahead today on the issue of "net neutrality," which as NPR's Laura Sydell says on The Record has both sides of a contentious debate saying that "the future of an open and free Internet is at stake."
The Federal Communications Commission votes, as The Wall Street Journal writes, on "Chairman Julius Genachowski's proposed rules governing net neutrality — a concept aimed at preventing Internet providers from interfering with web traffic."
The Journal adds that:
"The rules are expected to bar providers from discriminating against legal Internet traffic and require more transparency. They also would let broadband providers for the first time charge more to companies that want faster service for delivery of games, videos or other services."
The Washington Post sums up the aim of the rules, which FCC commissioners are expected to OK, this way:
"Under the regulations, companies that carry the Internet into American homes would not be allowed to block Web sites that offer rival services, nor would they be permitted to play favorites by dividing delivery of Internet content into fast and slow lanes."
But, the Post adds, "the FCC's authority over broadband networks remains uncertain. A federal court ruling in May cast doubt on whether Internet access fell within the agency's jurisdiction. The net-neutrality rules subject to Tuesday's vote are widely expected to face a court test."
While some consumer advocates are already saying the FCC isn't going far enough, some communications companies are saying the rules are too intrusive.
NPR newscasters Craig Windham and Paul Brown discussed the issue earlier this morning. As Paul said, Genachowski has tried to come up with rules that "will pass legal tests, satisfy Internet providers and preserve the open access that is called network neutrality":