UPDATE 2-U.S. House rejects FCC’s ‘open’ Internet rules

* Republicans say FCC should not regulate Internet

* Democrats say check needed on big ISPs’ power
(Adds Cantor, Eshoo comments, background)

By Kevin Drawbaugh

WASHINGTON, April 8 (Reuters) – The U.S. House of
Representatives voted on Friday to reject Internet “neutrality”
rules that were adopted last year to keep big Internet service
providers from blocking certain traffic

House Republicans, in a 240-179 vote, pushed through a
measure disapproving the Federal Communications Commission’s
rules. Tech and telecom giants such as Verizon Communications
Inc (VZ.N: Quote, Profile, Research) and Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O: Quote, Profile, Research) could be affected.

The outlook for further progress by the Republicans in
rolling back the FCC’s actions was uncertain, however.

While a similar measure has been offered in the U.S. Senate
and has 39 co-sponsors, the White House said on Monday that
President Barack Obama’s advisers would recommend that he veto
any such resolution.

The FCC’s rules, approved in late December, banned Internet
service providers from blocking traffic on their networks,
while allowing providers — such as Verizon, Comcast Corp
(CMCSA.O: Quote, Profile, Research) and AT&T Inc (T.N: Quote, Profile, Research) — to “reasonably” manage their
networks and charge consumers based on usage.

Republicans argued in House debate that the FCC’s rules
needlessly impose government regulation on the Internet.

“The FCC has never had the authority to regulate the
Internet,” said Republican Representative Cliff Stearns.

House Republican Leader Eric Cantor called the House’s vote
“an important step to bring down the FCC’s harmful and partisan
plan to regulate the Internet.”

Democrats argue that the FCC rules are needed to curb the
growing market power of large service providers.

Disapproving the FCC rules “would give big phone and cable
companies control over what websites Americans can visit, what
applications they can run, and what devices they can use,” said
Democratic Representative Henry Waxman.

Democratic Representative Anna Eshoo called the Republican
push against the FCC’s rules “an ideological assault on a
federal agency and its ability to provide basic consumer
protections.”

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia on
Monday dismissed challenges to the FCC rules that had been
filed by Verizon and MetroPCS Communications Inc (PCS.N: Quote, Profile, Research),
ruling that the challenges were premature.

“In most parts of the country, companies like Verizon,
AT&T, and Comcast have a virtual monopoly over access to the
Internet,” Waxman said. “Without regulation, they can choke off
innovation by charging for the right to communicate with their
customers.”
(Editing by Gary Hill)

UPDATE 2-U.S. House rejects FCC’s ‘open’ Internet rules