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71% of U.S. households would switch from providers that attempt to interfere with Internet

Consumer Reports survey finds broadband subscribers don't want ISPs to block or slow popular services such as Netflix, Pandora, and Skype

Published: February 18, 2014 01:40 PM

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Seventy-one percent of respondents to a survey* conducted by the Consumer Reports National Research Center said they would attempt to switch to a competing Internet service provider (ISP) if their provider were to try to block, slow down, or charge more for bandwith-heavy services such as Amazon Instant Video, Netflix, Pandora, and Skype. (See the full survey results below.)

Last month, a federal court ruling in Verizon v. Federal Communications Commission essentially dismantled much of the FCC’s Open Internet rules, which forbid ISPs from blocking or discriminating between different types of traffic over the network connections they provide to customers. Specifically, those rules meant that ISPs such as Verizon, Comcast, and Cablevision couldn’t treat popular high-bandwidth video and audio streaming services differently from any other Internet traffic. Now, technically, ISPs can manage high-bandwidth traffic as they see fit.

The FCC is now considering whether to appeal the decision, revise the Open Internet rules, or maybe even reclassify ISPs as “common carriers,” which would subject them to a different level of regulatory scrutiny.

There is sure to be more debate and turbulence on this issue (and changes may come as soon as this week). But as both regulators and service providers plot their next moves, the public has officially weighed in.

—Glenn Derene

* Editor's Note: The nationally representative survey of 800 U.S. households with broadband service, designed by the Consumer Reports National Research Center, was conducted in February 2014.
   

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