The U.S. regulator writing new open-Internet rules plans to submit a proposal as early as next month and ask the Federal Communications Commission to vote on it Feb. 26. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler "intends to circulate an Open Internet order in February, aiming for a vote at that month's meeting," Kim Hart, an FCC spokeswoman, said Friday in an e-mail.
The agency is writing requirements for Internet providers to treat all content equally - a policy known as net neutrality - after an earlier set of rules were struck down in a legal challenge brought by Verizon Communications Inc.
President Obama on Nov. 10 called for the "strongest possible rules" to protect the open Internet, including a ban on so-called fast lanes, going further than Wheeler had planned. Companies led by Verizon, Philadelphia-based Comcast Corp. and AT&T Inc. have said that only light regulation is needed to ensure providers don't block or slow Web traffic, and that strict rules would squelch investment.
Google Inc. said in an FCC filing this week that open-Internet rules being considered should give the company's Fiber project a right to use utility poles, removing a "substantial barrier" to expansion. If the FCC adopts the utility-style regulatory approach, it should make sure broadband providers have the same access to poles, conduits, and other infrastructure as cable-television and telephone companies, Austin Schlick, Google's director for communications law, said in its filing.