AT&T, Verizon and other carriers debate merits of new net neutrality rules

Amidst a great protest within the agency and by large telcos like AT&T (NYSE: T) and Verizon (NYSE: VZ), FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler's proposed Open Internet order that would classify broadband as a telecommunications service under Title II of the Communications Act and Section 706 of the 1996 Telecommunications Act passed in a 3-2 vote this week. Now that the order has been approved, it's likely going to see a number of legal challenges from the largest carriers.

The FCC's new order has been a divisive issue within the traditional wireline telco industry. AT&T and Verizon claim that Title II will create uncertainty and hamper investments in new broadband networks, while Frontier maintains that it is comfortable with such a regulatory framework because it already operates under those rules in the markets it serves today. Meanwhile, TDS Telecom, which operates regional wireline networks throughout the U.S., hopes that the FCC won't "impose new fees on existing broadband service providers as part of this Order."

Fierce has followed the net neutrality debate for some time and will continue to bring you updates as this regulatory saga continues. Visit FierceWirelessFierceTelecom and FierceCable frequently for the latest updates on net neutrality regulation, and check out our recent coverage here.