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How proposed FCC spectrum plan impacts consumers

Regulators are set to vote Thursday on a proposal that could could change the way consumers have access to wireless services.

The plan, proposed by Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler, would reserve a portion of airwaves for small wireless carriers to bid on in a spectrum auction next year.

Tom Wheeler, the chairman of the F.C.C.
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Tom Wheeler, the chairman of the F.C.C.

"One of the most important functions of the FCC and indeed all government regulation is to make sure that markets are operating fairly and in the interest of consumers," said Associated Press Technology and Media Editor John Simons. "The FCC is interested in getting ... price competition into the wireless market," Simons added.

Read More Verizon to FCC: Restrictions on airwaves auction are unjust

If the plan is approved—which is the most likely outcome—small carriers and their customers in rural areas and other markets currently under-served by bigger carriers could especially benefit, Simons said.

"This won't really impact major companies at all," Simons said.

Read More AT&T threatens to sit out U.S. spectrum auction over rules

"I think the FCC wants to ensure that companies small and large have the opportunity to purchase portions of this valuable spectrum," Simons said.

Critics of the plan, including Verizon and AT&T, the top two wireless service provider in America, say that the government agency doesn't have the right to reserve a part of the spectrum for any carriers.

—By CNBC's Althea Chang.