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U.S. Internet Consumers Fear Myopic ISPs

The vast majority of Internet users are worried that the companies owning the networks they use will abuse their power by raising prices or making it more difficult to get content, according to a new survey.

According to the survey, sponsored by a trio of consumer advocacy groups, more than 75 percent of the nation's Internet users are seriously concerned that network owners will make it more difficult to choose an Internet service provider or force them to pay more for some Internet services.

Meanwhile, 70 percent of those surveyed are worried that network owners, usually large phone and cable companies, will block or impair access to Internet services that aren't affiliated with those companies. In addition, 54 percent of those surveyed want lawmakers to take action to prohibit practices that favor one site or service over another.

"These results show that although consumers believe network owners should provide unfettered access to the Internet, few believe they'll do so unless required by law," said Mark Cooper, director of research at the Consumer Federation of America and co-author of the report issued by CFA, Consumers Union and Free Press. "Our findings that consumers view the Internet as an important communications and information service only underscore the danger of discriminatory network practices."

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