governments to shepherd traffic at their will threaten US business interests because most content on the internet either originates from, is stored in or routed via the United States.
With some of the world’s biggest and most innovative Web-based companies, from Google to Facebook, Twitter and Yahoo!, based in the United States, the country has the most to lose.
The EU is also alarmed by proposals to make content providers pay for having their services delivered abroad.
As traditional phone revenues decline and internet access prices remain high, some countries argue that Google, Skype and Facebook ought to pay to have their traffic routed to that country, helping them fund the expansion of their networks.
A leaked proposal from Cameroon says traffic reaching a network operator would incur “full payment”.
Internet activists say such fees would ‘Balkanise’ the internet and cause an information black out in poorer countries. “Developing countries might be shooting themselves in the foot, as reversing the economic Internet model might cut them off from accessing vital information,” said Markus Kummer of the Internet Society, a think-tank with offices in Geneva.