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Five core unnamed internet service providers in the United States (and one in Europe) have been accused of intentionally throttling the Internet service of its users. This accusation comes directly from Level 3, a communications company that helps connect enormous providers like Comcast to the rest of the Internet.

Having an obvious inside view of these systems, Level 3 has stepped forward to claim that these six ISPs are deliberately decreasing the quality of service for users, in hopes of getting the company to pay a fee for additional traffic caused by popular services like Netflix.

This is known as paid peering.

“They are deliberately harming the service they deliver to their paying customers,” writes Level 3’s Mark Taylor.

“They are not allowing us to fulfill the requests their customers make for content.”

“They” refers to six unnamed but probably easy-to-figure-out providers that are considered “large broadband consumer networks with a dominant or exclusive market share in their local market.” Taylor was quick to mention that in markets where users have multiple choices for paying for Internet, this throttling is not occurring. It seems that if this throttling is occurring, then these companies are taking advantage of their market share to profit. It’s not exactly a new strategy – especially in this business.

“Our policy is to refuse to pay arbitrary charges to add interconnection capacity,” Taylor also mentioned. In laymen’s terms, they’re not ponying up the dough ISPs are demanding.

But this isn’t the first occurrence of throttling speeds for users and requiring payment to normalize it. Recent agreements between Netflix and service providers like Verizon and Comcast have only furthered the discussion of this hot button issue.

You can get more detail on the situation over on Level 3’s blog.

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