The Democratic FCC is expected to initiate its controversial plan on Thursday, placing broadband services under "Title II" of the Communications Act, rather than their current status under "Title I." The result is that the FCC will have more legal power to regulate broadband providers, just as it currently regulates telephone companies. Chairman Julius Genachowski has pledged not to use Title II's most onerous powers, including price controls.
Republicans, big broadband service providers, and 77 Democrats have lobbied hard against the FCC proposal, arguing that it will create regulatory uncertainty and inhibit network investment.
The FCC's effort comes after an appeals court hearing in April appeared to undercut the agency's authority to make net neutrality rules, which would prohibit broadband service providers from toying with the content and applications that run over their networks.