Federal regulators approved new rules Oct. 14 aimed at making high-speed internet access available to more Americans. Critics contended the action will hinder competition in broadband services and keep prices high.

The proposal lets the major regional phone companies build fiber-optic networks to within 500 feet of a customer's home without requiring the companies to share their networks with competitors.

Currently, the former Baby Bell companies do not have to lease their networks for fiber that is installed directly to the home. The new rule extends that regulation to


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