The FTC has come out against new legislation that would regulate pricing for high-speed Internet access. The primary issue is "net neutrality;" the idea that all customers should pay the same price for their Internet access, no matter how they use it. Major ISPs want the ability to charge customers more for higher bandwidth content or more reliably. The FTC says that they and the Department of Justice already have sufficient power to regulate the arena based on market needs. Proponents of net neutrality say that tiered pricing would create the wrong incentives for ISPs, potentially limiting access to customers who may not be as profitable.

Bottom Line: ISPs can expect to be under a very large microscope if any tiered pricing structures appear. The issue's public salience is likely to lead to continued net neutrality, as opposed to government regulation.

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