Microsoft Corp. and Google pleaded with U.S. regulators on Monday to preserve strong net neutrality rules, while AT&T Inc. and Comcast Corp. backed weakened oversight and said Congress should settle the issue that\u2019s burned for more than a decade. The tech pillars and the broadband providers are trying to sway the Federal Communications Commission, which is moving toward gutting rules against interfering with web traffic. Monday was a deadline for comments on the FCC proposal advanced by Republican Chairman Ajit Pai entitled \u201cRestoring Internet Freedom,\u201d which already has attracted more than 8 million comments. The rules passed by an Obama-era, Democratic-led FCC forbid broadband providers from blocking or slowing data - to hinder rivals, for instance, or to favor affiliated services - and from setting up \u201cfast lanes\u201d that would cost more. Under Pai\u2019s proposal announced in April, the FCC would end its claim to strong legal authority to enforce the rules, and the chairman asked whether the FCC should retain the ban on paid fast lanes. For broadband providers, the change would remove a threat of intrusive rate regulation as FCC authority is cut back. If Congress passed a law, that would insulate net neutrality rules from changing as partisan control of the FCC switches following elections. Web-based companies see peril in relaxing rules that they say protect consumers\u2019 ability \u201cto enjoy the unfettered ability to access the lawful content of their choice,\u201d the Internet Association, a Washington-based trade group with members including Microsoft, Alphabet Inc.\u2019s Google, Netflix Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. said in a filing Monday. Undoing the rules \u201cwould introduce significant uncertainty and would threaten the virtuous circle of innovation\u201d that\u2019s seen broadband services boom. Internet service providers see the issue differently, and argue that the embattled rules have deterred broadband investment.\u00a0Rules should return to the lighter-touch framework that existed before the current rules were set in 2015 \u201cin order for the U.S. to retain its leading role in shaping and benefiting from the internet,\u201d USTelecom, a trade group with members including AT&T and Verizon Communications Inc., said in a summary of its comments Monday to the FCC. \u201cA lasting congressional solution is needed, but, in the interim, the commission must undo the harm.\u201d The current FCC rules include \u201cthe framework for price regulation - a toxic approach if the goal is to encourage investment,\u201d Verizon said. Reverting to a \u201clongstanding, light-touch\u201d approach \u201cwill not leave consumers unprotected.\u201d\u00a0At top cable provider Comcast, \u201cwe support the FCC\u2019s return to a light-touch regulatory framework,\u201d David Cohen, senior executive vice president, said in a blog post outlining the company\u2019s FCC filing. \u201cWe are, and will remain, committed to the core tenets of a free and open Internet.\u201d \u2018Regulatory Ping Pong\u2019 Cohen called for Congress to act to spare consumers a \u201cnever-ending game of regulatory ping pong\u201d as rules change with presidential administrations.\u00a0Prospects appear \u201cdim\u201d for a solution from Congress, Matthew Schettenhelm, a Bloomberg Intelligence analyst, said in a July 13 note. Republicans likely will seek limits on FCC power, which Democrats will resist in order to preserve the agency\u2019s flexibility to address future problems, Schettenhelm said. Mark Wigfield, an FCC spokesman, declined to comment. Sean Spicer, the White House spokesman, when asked if President Donald Trump believes net neutrality is important, replied that \u201cthe FCC is an independent agency\u201d and said he hasn\u2019t discussed the issue with the president. Attorneys general of the District of Columbia and 12 states supported the existing rules in a filing Monday. If the rules were to be repealed, an internet service provider could force web content providers to pay fees for faster speeds, limiting consumers\u2019 ability to access the internet content of their choice, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said in a news release.