A new FCC proposal to regulate the internet is expected to go before the agency on Thursday, with lawmakers likely to vote to make the changes to the Telecommunications Act, or the law that governs the internet.
Net neutrality, or net neutrality, is the principle that internet service providers should treat all web traffic equally.
It is generally considered a key component of net neutrality rules.
Net companies like Comcast and Verizon have long argued that net neutrality protections should apply to all internet traffic, but have faced criticism that the regulations are too vague and that they do not fully regulate the broadband industry.
The FCC is expected in coming weeks to propose changes to its proposal, known as the “net neutrality framework,” which would allow the FCC to impose more stringent rules.
The rules would allow internet service companies to charge internet users for priority access to certain web content and services.
The FCC would also allow the agency to impose fines on internet service provider providers if they fail to provide a speedy or reliable service to their customers.
In a separate proposal, the FCC is also expected to propose a plan to allow ISPs to create “fast lanes” that would allow them to offer faster service to certain internet users.
Under the plan, internet service users would pay more for faster access, which would be used to justify higher fees for the service providers.
The proposal also would require ISPs to pay to “prevent or mitigate” discrimination against certain content.
The two proposals come as lawmakers consider new net neutrality regulations that could be enacted in the coming months.
Sen. Jon Tester, a Montana Democrat, said he was working on a bill that would require broadband companies to give priority to certain websites, and he said the FCC could consider imposing new rules that would make the internet less open to discrimination.
Tester, who has been one of the most vocal opponents of the internet regulations, said on Thursday that he was preparing to introduce legislation that would create a commission to oversee internet access, and called the FCC an “unqualified agency” that “must be replaced by an independent agency that is in place for the good of the country.”
The FCC’s plan would allow broadband providers to charge higher rates for certain websites.
The agency’s proposed rules would apply to the entire internet, including mobile and fixed broadband providers, wireless providers and cable operators.
It would also require the FCC not to regulate content delivery networks (CDNs), which offer the infrastructure to deliver internet traffic to customers, such as broadband providers.
The plan would also bar ISPs from creating “fast lane” plans that prioritize certain websites over others.
Tester said his legislation would prevent ISPs from offering services that prioritize a website over another.
Testers proposal would also prevent internet service services providers from blocking or slowing down content or content providers, or charging users for faster service.