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Telcos Begging Congress to Allow them to Break the Internet

Telecoms want their products to travel on a faster Internet - The Boston Globe

The prospect of a tiered Internet with ''regular" and ''premium" broadband services is spawning fierce debate as Congress takes up a major overhaul of telecom regulations. The House of Representatives last month held hearings on a preliminary draft by two GOP congressmen, Joe Barton of Texas and Fred Upton of Michigan, that would give the telecom companies the freedom to establish premium broadband services. The telecom bill is due for action early next year.

A change along these lines would be different from the way the Internet has operated. ''The Internet model has been that carriers cannot interfere with the choices that consumers make," said Alan Davidson, Google's Washington policy counsel.

Google is fighting the proposal, along with other large Internet companies including Amazon.com Inc. and eBay Inc. They fear they may have to pay telecoms millions of dollars to gain access to customers who use the premium Internet services. In addition, they argue, many small Internet start-ups would be unable to pay the fees, which could reduce consumer choice.