U.S. companies, others meet again on Web traffic

By Reuters
Posted Aug. 18, 2010 at 5:17 p.m.

Lobbyists for phone, cable and Internet companies including Yahoo Inc. and Microsoft Corp. met Wednesday to again try to agree on how to manage Internet traffic, three sources familiar with the meeting said.

The sources said the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Google Inc were not involved in the latest industry effort to agree on “net neutrality”, the concept that high-speed Internet providers should not block or slow selected information or make websites pay for faster ways to reach users.

“While we’re not involved in these new discussions, we’re glad that there is ongoing dialogue,” FCC spokeswoman Jen Howard said in a statement.

The Open Internet Coalition, representing tech companies and public interest groups, also was absent from the talks, according to the sources, who requested anonymity because the talks were private. They said the meeting was held at the Information Technology Industry Council, a lobby group in Washington, D.C.

Meetings were held earlier this month at the FCC.

Last week, Verizon Communications Inc and Google proposed that regulators should police Internet traffic over cable and telephone lines, but they said carriers should be allowed to control the speed of access to content on wireless devices such as smartphones and iPads.

Companies invited to the talks included Cisco Systems Inc , Amazon.com Inc, Verizon Communications Inc , AT&T Inc and the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, the cable industry’s trade group.

One of the sources said more talks were scheduled for later this week.

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