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FCC Finalizes Net Neutrality Rules; Sets Start Date of Nov. 20

Regulations are designed to keep providers from charging tolls for better service

Controversial net neutrality rules designed by the Federal Communications Commission to prevent internet providers from imposing higher fees on subscribers that stream video or play online games will go into effect on Nov. 20.

However, the new regulations could be derailed by lawsuits before they ever see the light of day. 

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski has argued that new rules keep the internet open and free.

Commission members voted along strict party lines, with the three Democratic members endorsing the guidelines and two Republican commissioners dissenting. 

The regulations allow the FCC to impose fines and bring injunctions against companies that slow down internet service for customers who are streaming movies or downloading music. The finalized regulations will be published in the Federal Register on Friday, according to the Government Printing Office's website. 

(Here's the full text of the rules)

But revving up the printing presses means that legal challenges from Verizon and MetroPCS that hope to overturn the regulations can now go forward. 

In April, the D.C. Court of Appeals dismissed suits from the internet providers aimed at overturning the FCC's rules. In its decision, the court said that the companies needed to wait until the new regulations were published in the Federal Register before any appeal could be heard.

Also read: House Republicans Vote to Kill FCC's Net Neutrality Rules

Composed by the Federal Communications Commission, the restrictions have faced stiff opposition from internet companies such as Verizon and from congressional Republicans. They argue the commission has overstepped its authority. 

The Verizon challenge isn't the only hurdle to the FCC's rule-making ability. In a largely symbolic move, House Republicans voted 240 to 179 to overturn the regulations. However, the move does not appear likely to be taken up by the Democrat-controlled Senate or by President Barack Obama.

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