Feds Mull Rules, Fees to Spur Net Access

Federal regulators are considering whether the government should take greater control of the Internet and ask consumers to pay higher phone charges in order to provide all Americans with cheaper access to broadband Internet service.

The Federal Communications Commission Wednesday will lay out the case for expanding broadband Internet service, outlining current obstacles to making it widely available. The agency is considering whether to force Internet providers to share their networks with rivals and raise fees charged on consumer phone bills to pay for the broader access.

The proposals, which have sparked criticism from telecommunications and cable companies, represent a reversal from the Bush Administration, when regulators cut back on government control of Internet and telephone service.

The new commission, controlled by Democrats, is considering whether more government control is needed to ensure competition and more affordable Internet service.

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