WASHINGTON — Federal regulators Thursday advanced a proposal to let Internet-service providers led by AT&T and Comcast offer fast lanes for payment from Web companies such as Google and Facebook.
Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler had enough reluctant support from his two fellow Democrats to win a 3-2 preliminary vote for his proposal, which advocacy groups and Internet companies said undermines the ‘net-neutrality’ ideal of treating Web traffic equally. Wheeler revised the proposal May 12 to add consideration of tougher regulations, including potential rate controls, under the agency’s review.
The vote opens a comment-and-review period intended to lead to a second vote and a final rule later this year. A court in January threw out open-Internet rules the FCC adopted in 2010.
‘‘I will not allow the national asset of an open Internet to be compromised,’’ Wheeler said. The debate before the agency ‘‘is not about whether the Internet must be open, but about how and when we will have rules in place,’’ Wheeler said.
Democrat Jessica Rosenworcel, renewing criticism that Wheeler had rushed the proposal, voted to advance it Thursday after saying the chairman had ‘‘put all options on the table.’’
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