New rules on how the internet should be governed have been approved by the Federal Communications Commission.
The commission voted in favour of changes proposed by chairman Tom Wheeler.
The US Telecommunications Industry Association said that broadband providers would take "immediate" legal action over the rule changes.
The main changes for broadband providers are as follows:
• Broadband access is being reclassified as a telecommunications service, meaning it will be subject to much heavier regulation.
• Broadband providers cannot block or speed up connections for a fee.
• Internet providers cannot strike deals with content firms, known as paid prioritisation, for smoother delivery of traffic to consumers.
• Interconnection deals, where content companies pay broadband providers to connect to their networks, will also be regulated.
• Firms which feel that unjust fees have been levied can complain to the FCC. Each one will be dealt with on a case by case basis.
All of the rules will also apply to mobile providers as well as fixed line providers.
The FCC won't apply the new rules in some sections, including price controls.
Ahead of the vote, commissioners heard from a variety of net neutrality advocates.
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