Report: FCC will formalize net neutrality rule

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission is planning to create formal rules against Internet providers selectively blocking or slowing traffic, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal.

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski will announce net neutrality rulemaking during a speech Monday, the Journal reported. Net neutrality rules would prohibit Internet providers from blocking or slowing their customers' access to Web sites or Web applications. A FCC spokeswoman did not immediately return a message seeking confirmation of the Journal story.

Since mid-2005, the FCC has said it will enforce four , saying consumers have a right to access the legal Internet content of their choice, and they are entitled to run Web applications and services of their choice.

But the FCC has never made formal net neutrality rules. Broadband provider Comcast filed a lawsuit challenging the FCC's authority to enforce the principles after the agency ruled last August that Comcast had to stop slowing peer-to-peer traffic in the name of network management.

Genachowski is planning on launching a formal rulemaking process on net neutrality, the Journal reported. The rules would apply not only to wireline broadband providers, but also to wireless networks run by companies such as AT&T and Verizon, the newspaper said.

Rulemaking could give the FCC more authority to enforce net neutrality. A bill in the U.S. Congress would also spell out that the FCC has that authority.