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Consumers Say Feds Should Protect Their Right To Internet Services: Survey

Two-thirds of Internet users worry that Internet providers may block their access to information and services, and a majority support congressional action to prevent the practice, says a new survey released this week by the Consumer Federation of America (CFA).

More than 75% of consumers surveyed expressed serious concern about restricted service choices and double-billing, while 70% complained that their providers blocked access to certain Web sites. According to the CFA, a majority of consumers take these issues seriously enough to call for government intervention: Some 54% reported that they would like Congress to take action to ensure network neutrality.

"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," CFA director of research Mark Cooper said in a statement. "Our findings that consumers view the Internet as an important communications and information service only underscore the danger of discriminatory network practices."

The survey also found that high speed Internet access has become ubiquitous in American homes. Almost two-thirds of American households have some kind of Internet access, and the majority of those, according to the CFA, have broadband. The principal consumer Internet use continues to be personal communications and virtual window-shopping, but some 40% of respondents reported that they use do their banking, some commerce and research government information online.