EU's net neutrality plan draws criticism

Group warns that consumers could be charged too much

BRUSSELS -- Broadband bills risk soaring if the European Union goes ahead with plans for so-called net neutrality, unrestricted, first-come, first-served access to the Internet, a leading think tank warned Thursday.

With warnings that the Internet was becoming congested, the Center for European Policy Studies said consumers could end up paying billions of dollars more for new broadband platforms under the proposals being pushed by the European Commission.

Net neutrality -- due to be discussed by the EU's 27 telecoms ministers in November -- would block carriers from charging content providers premium prices to prioritize certain Web traffic, CEPS said in a report.