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FCC Chairman: Regulate Internet Like Public Utility

FILE - FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, writing in Wired magazine, says he wants to protect the rights of Internet users through government regulation.

The head of the U.S. Federal Communication Commission called Wednesday for the government to regulate the Internet like a public utility to keep it "fast, fair and open."

In what is known as "net neutrality," the proposal would prevent big Internet providers from charging content providers — such as wealthy companies that stream movies online — from being able to pay more to get their product to customers faster than smaller companies.

"My proposal assures the rights of Internet users to go were they want, when they want, and the rights of innovators to introduce new products, without asking anyone's permission," FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler wrote in Wired magazine.

Internet providers oppose the plan, saying government regulation would discourage investment.

Net neutrality had been in place before a federal court ruled against it.

FCC commissioners plan to vote on the Wheeler proposal later this month.

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