US plans to 'discipline' ISPs on traffic management

Federal regulators are ready to discipline internet service providers who secretly favor certain types of data traffic, like web surfing, over others, like file sharing, an Associated Press report said.

An Associated Press report quoted Federal Communications Commission chairman Kevin Martin, at a hearing over allegations of traffic discrimination by US-based Comcast, as saying that the complaints underscore the need to enforce the FCC's current broad principles intended to promote so-called 'Net neutrality.'

'The commission is ready, willing and able to step in if necessary to correct any practices that are ongoing today,' FCC Chairman Kevin Martin said in opening statements of the hearing at Harvard Law School's Berkman Center for internet and Society.

Martin said service providers should be allowed to take reasonable steps to make efficient use of their networks at a time when consumers' growing appetite for web video threatens to bump up against networks' capacity limits, the Associated Press report said.

But he said such management policies must be disclosed, the report said.

Consumer groups and a provider of online video have filed complaints alleging Comcast hampered traffic between users without notice, violating the internet's tradition of equal treatment of traffic, the report said.