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FTC Recommends Congress Ignore Net Neutrality

The Federal Trade Commission dealt an unexpected blow to net neutrality Wednesday by issuing a report recommending that Congress leave the issue alone. Proponents of government intervention want Congress to ensure network operators like Comcast distribute bandwidth to Web publishers on an as-needed basis. So if ISPs like AT&T, which recently took steps to curtail illegal downloading on its network, want to place tighter controls on their networks, they can.

"This report recommends that policy makers proceed with caution in the evolving, dynamic industry of broadband Internet access, which generally is moving toward more - not less - competition," Chairman Deborah Platt Majoras said in the report.

Net neutrality supporters worry about taxation, but they also claim ISPs could start censoring their networks, like AT&T. That said, the FTC reports says it sees no evidence of any such problem, but as the market evolves, it will be watched. So, too, will consumers, consumer activist groups and wary Web publishers, who came together to turn Net neutrality into a political issue.

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