Washington, Aug.8 (ANI): US regulators have halted closed-door meetings intended to find a way to make sure all web data is treated equally.
According to the BBC, the US Federal Communications Commission was facing criticism over the meetings by groups that supported the principle known as net neutrality.
The issue of net neutrality, which means no data traffic is prioritised over any other, has become a thorny one for the FCC. A recent court case limited the agency's powers to police what happens to data when it ruled that the FCC did not have the power to sanction Comcast for throttling some traffic.
As a result the FCC said it would reclassify broadband under a more heavily regulated part of the telecommunications law known as Title II. Cable and phone companies claimed the move would stifle investment in next generation broadband.
With the fear that these companies would resort to legal action, the agency began holding what critics termed "secret negotiations" aimed at forging a consensus on how to treat Internet traffic.
The FCC decision to pause follows reports that Google and Verizon hatched a separate deal to allow faster speeds for web sites that pay for the privilege.
"Any outcome, any deal that doesn't preserve the freedom and openness of the Internet for consumers and entrepreneurs will be unacceptable," the BBC quoted FCC chair Julius, as saying.
Both firms, however, denied they were close to an agreement that many fear would lead to a "two-tier internet".
Google said: "We remain as committed as we always have been to an open Internet".
In a blog post, net service provider Verizon's executive director of media relations, David Fish, said: "As we said in our earlier FCC filing, our goal is an internet policy framework that ensures openness and accountability, and incorporates specific FCC authority, while maintaining investment and innovation."
"To suggest this is a business arrangement between our companies is entirely incorrect," he added. (ANI)