Consumer advocates are reigniting a debate over net neutrality by insisting that the government require recipients of the $7.2 billion broadband stimulus package to adhere to special rules to ensure that all internet traffic flows freely, CNET reports. Consumer groups and internet service providers faced off at a public hearing in Washington, D.C., on March 23, set up to discuss how money from President Obama’s economic stimulus package should be allocated. Public interest groups believe the government should require companies receiving funds to adhere to special net-neutrality rules that would prevent them from discriminating against traffic traversing their networks. Service providers, on the other hand, believe that no conditions should be imposed that could hinder innovation or stifle their ability to manage their networks. Ben Scott, policy director for Free Press, argued at the hearing that the government program is not meant to be a "charity" for broadband providers and that taxpayers should expect nondiscrimination conditions to ensure that internet service providers don’t take advantage of the funds by blocking certain kinds of traffic or choking off new and competing services. Tying regulation to stimulus funds appears to be a logical way to get such rules in place, some advocates believe…

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