Net Neutrality Under Pressure in US

10 September 2007

WASHINGTON DC: US internet service providers should be permitted to charge some users extra for uploading certain types of content to their websites, according to the Justice Department - despite protests this could undermine the principle of "net neutrality".

Officials made the argument in their submission to a review of broadband currently being undertaken by the Federal Communications Commission.

They also said the current model could hamper the development of web services and place the "burden of implementing costly network expansions and improvements onto consumers".

Cable and telephone companies including AT&T, Verizon and Comcast are said to support the introduction of a new charging system, though Deborah Platt Majoras, chair of the Federal Trade Commission, has previously called for the introduction of net neutrality legislation.

The Justice Department argues that such a move could have "significant negative effects for the economy and consumers", and that the type of online services that emerge should "be determined by market forces, not regulatory intervention".

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal Online. additional content by WARC staff