Regulators approve tougher rules for Internet providers

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Federal Communications Commission has agreed to impose strict new regulations on Internet service providers like Comcast, Verizon and AT&T.

The regulatory agency voted 3-2 today in favor of rules aimed at enforcing what's called "net neutrality." That's the idea that service providers shouldn't intentionally block or slow web traffic, creating paid fast lanes on the Internet.

The new rules say that any company providing a broadband connection to your home or phone would have to act in the public interest and conduct business in ways that are "just and reasonable."

Much of industry opposes the regulations, which it says constitutes dangerous government overreach. The rules are expected to trigger lawsuits, which could drag out for several years.

U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan of Howland, D-13th, said in a news release, "More than 4 million Americans weighed in on the debate and voiced their support for net neutrality. Reclassifying the Internet as a utility will help low-income communities gain equal access to broadband services.

"This decision allows the creation of clear rules and regulations to ban paid prioritization of content and services across all Internet platforms — including mobile broadband, which makes up 63 percent of all usage. The Internet is an indispensable part of American lives, and it should be classified in a way that reflects the world we live in today."