Routing favoritism


A Senate panel is concerned that the new AOL Time Warner could monopolize Internet services by using devices, known as routers, that would purposely direct broadband users to the media giant's own content.

"In evaluating AOL Time Warner and, indeed, Internet and media competition generally, one of our primary concerns has been ensuring that content is delivered on a nondiscriminatory basis in order to promote the greatest possible diversity of expression and competition in the marketplace of ideas," wrote Senate Antitrust Subcommittee Chairman Mike DeWine (R-Ohio) and ranking member Herb Kohl (D-Wis.) to FCC Chairman William Kennard and FTC Chairman Robert Pitofsky.

The Senators say a research paper written by router-maker Cisco Systems encourages cable operators to use Cisco's routers to control the speed with which users access certain Internet sites.