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FCC closer to finalizing Net neutrality rules

The Federal Communications Commission has finally filed its Net neutrality rules with the Office of Management and Budget.

The Federal Communications Commission registered its Net neutrality rules with the Office of Management and Budget yesterday, which is the next step in making the new regulations official.

The rules, which were adopted in December, will now be available for comment for the next 30 days. At the end of the comment period and assuming that the OMB issues its approval, the new rules will then be published in the Federal Register and take effect 60 days later.

After years of debate on the topic, the FCC adopted rules codifying specific Net neutrality principles in late December. The new regulation creates two classes of service subject to different rules: one that applies to fixed broadband networks and one for wireless networks.

The rules essentially prevent Internet service providers from discriminating against content that comes from competitors by slowing it down or blocking access. The rules apply more stringently to wired broadband providers than they do wireless carriers.

The vote to approve the rules was split along party lines, with the three Democrats on the FCC voting in favor of it, while the two Republicans voted against it.

Republicans in the House voted to repeal the rules earlier this year. But the measure went nowhere since House Democrats and President Obama support the new rules.

Soon after the rules were passed by the FCC, Verizon Communications sued the agency in federal court. The company said it believed that the FCC had overstepped its authority. But the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit dismissed the case and said that it was premature, since the rules had not yet been added to the Federal Registry.

Now that the clock has begun ticking on the registration of the rules, experts expect Verizon and other companies unhappy with the new regulations to mount additional legal challenges.