WASHINGTON, Aug. 5 (UPI) -- The head of the Federal Communications Commission says he opposes letting U.S. Internet service providers offer faster service for customers who pay more.
FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski told reporters Thursday the practice would be "unacceptable," The New York Times reported.
"Any outcome, any deal that doesn't preserve the freedom and openness of the Internet for consumers and entrepreneurs will be unacceptable," he said.
Genachowski was addressing reports that Google and Verizon might be close to a deal that would allow Verizon to give priority to content from companies who pay for it. If the companies reach an agreement, it might upend efforts by the Federal Communications Commission to regulate Internet delivery, the Times said.
Such an arrangement would violate net neutrality, the principle that has governed the Internet during its short history.
Sources close to the Google-Verizon negotiations said an agreement could come as soon as next week. But the talks could also end in stalemate.
While any agreement would not affect other companies, it would influence legislative action, the newspaper said. That worries neutrality advocates.
"The point of a network neutrality rule is to prevent big companies from dividing the Internet between them," Gigi Sohn, president of Public Knowledge, a consumer group, told the Times. "The fate of the Internet is too large a matter to be decided by negotiations involving two companies, even companies as big as Verizon and Google."