The "net neutrality" rules, proposed by the Obama administration, would be the government's biggest foray yet into one of the Web's fiercest debates.
"But approval at a meeting Tuesday is likely to enrage congressional Republicans, who have warned the FCC's Democratic majority not to enact any Internet regulations. And the regulations are expected to be challenged in court.
The issue, known as net neutrality, has drawn strong support from Democrats, online activists and large Internet companies such as Google Inc. that advocate more open access to the Internet.
On the opposite side, Republicans, free-market advocates and telecommunications providers argue that such regulation isn't needed and would squelch investment and limit innovations."
former AT&T engineer Joe Niederberger, a member of the liberal advocacy group MoveOn.org. He asked Obama: "Would you make it a priority in your first year of office to reinstate Net neutrality as the law of the land? And would you pledge to only appoint FCC commissioners that support open Internet principles like Net neutrality?"
"The answer is yes," Obama replied. "I am a strong supporter of Net neutrality."
Last week, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski proposed strengthening the agency’s current guidelines on net neutrality by formally adopting them as regulation. He also proposed two additional rules, including one aimed at preventing Internet companies from discriminating against any traffic to certain types of content or services. In other words, all traffic would have to be treated the same.
Net neutrality was a cornerstone of Obama’s technology priorities during his campaign. Genachowski, his top campaign tech adviser, was a key architect behind those plans.