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Broadband Users: Feds Should Ban Cyberextortion

Hard on the heels of Google saying it won't pay cyberextortion to BellSouth, Verizon, SBC and others, comes a survey that says consumers are worried that Internet providers may block access to Net services -- and the feds should take action.
The survey, released by a coalition of consumer groups including the Consumer Federation of America, FreePress, and Consumers Union, found that more than 75 percent of Internet users polled worry that they won't be able to freely choose an Internet service provider or fear they will have to pay twice for some Internet services.

Some 70 percent fear that Internet providers may block or impair access to Internet services or sites, such as VoIP. And fifty-four percent want Congress to take action to ban Internet providers from engaging in the practices.

Consumers have good reason to fear. SBC, Verizon, and BellSouth have all said they plan to extort money from big Web sites or else they won't let the sites get full bandwidth. This means that consumers will be blocked from full access to those sites. And some providers have already blocked VoIP.

Google, so far, is the only site that has stood up the the cyberextortionist. Consumers have the right idea: The feds must ban the practice.