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FCC revising Internet rules after public backlash

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler is broadening the scope of his proposed open Internet rules and suggesting tougher standards for Internet providers who wish to create paid priority fast lanes on their networks.

According to an FCC official, Wheeler made revisions after the commission received 35,000 public comments —many of them expressing outrage. The FCC first briefed reporters on the proposed rules last month.

Wheeler, a Democrat, also tweaked his proposal after the five-member commission’s two other Democrats expressed concern.

“The new draft clearly reflects public input the commission has received,” the FCC official said in a statement. “The draft is explicit that the goal is to find the best approach to ensure the Internet remains open and prevent any practices that threaten it.”

Among the additions is a provision that would “presume” it to be illegal for an Internet provider to prioritize the traffic of an affiliated service — for example, it would be considered illegal if Comcast Corp. tried to give faster treatment to video streams of its subsidiary network, NBC.

However, an Internet service provider would be allowed to challenge that “presumption,” the official said.