FCC to vote on 'reasonable' roaming rates

The FCC may soon set new rules that could help ensure that your smartphone is able to access the Internet anywhere in the U.S., even if your provider doesn't offer network coverage.

On Thursday the FCC will vote on new rules that would force wireless phone companies, such as AT&T and Verizon Wireless, which have the largest nationwide coverage, to offer roaming rates to competitors at "fair and reasonable rates."

The measure, which has the backing of FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, is expected to be passed by the FCC at its monthly public meeting.

Smaller wireless carriers, such as Sprint Nextel, Leap Wireless, and MetroPCS, have filed petitions with the FCC claiming these new rules are necessary to ensure that AT&T and Verizon Wireless, the nation's largest wireless operators, offer fair roaming terms to them.

For more on this story, read FCC to vote on mandatory wireless-data roaming on CNET News.