Rockefeller defends FCC's net-neutrality rules

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But critics contend the rules are unnecessary because there are few documented violations, and argue the FCC has overreached its legal authority. The commission chose not to re-classify broadband Internet as an information service; a federal court threw out the FCC's previous attempt at enforcement.

Rockefeller warned the tussle over the rules would lessen certainty for businesses in the midst of the nation's prolonged economic slump.

"I fear their actions will do nothing more than impede the investment and innovation we need in our digital economy," he said.

The rules are scheduled to take effect Nov. 20. Legal challenges are expected as soon as they take effect; a previous challenge from Verizon was dismissed in April as premature.