Google (GOOG), Microsoft (MSFT), Facebook (FB), and other Web giants are paying U.S. ISPs to...

|By:, SA News Editor

Google (GOOG), Microsoft (MSFT), Facebook (FB), and other Web giants are paying U.S. ISPs to directly connect to their networks (and thus gain faster/more reliable access), the WSJ reports. Netflix (NFLX), whose bandwidth-hogging ways have triggered disputes with ISPs, hasn't joined in, reportedly out of fear of setting a precedent. The payments, which aren't illegal under net neutrality rules (since last mile networks aren't involved), have been small thus far - Comcast (CMCSA) says it gets $25M-$30M/year, Time Warner Cable (TWC) "tens of millions." But smaller Internet companies are worried they create an uneven playing field.