As a result, the government should create strong rules to protect net neutrality, according to the ACLU. The report says that the Federal Communications Commission must place broadband service providers under telephone regulations to gain a basis for creating net-neutrality rules, using a controversial maneuver discussed as "reclassification."
This possibility would create onerous regulations for broadband providers, phone and cable companies say, and could stifle innovations and hurt the economy.
The ACLU report also says net-neutrality policies are necessary because cable and phone companies have an incentive to interfere with Internet traffic to help their financial and political interests. It says Comcast would have an incentive to favor NBC Universal programming after their controversial merger.
"Comcast might allow NBC TV shows to download faster and/or in higher quality," it says.
A main reason cable and phone companies currently comply with net-neutrality expectations is that they have been under great pressure from Internet activists, the report says.