Internet service providers (ISPs) could end up placing tight restrictions on popular services and websites if Ofcom fails to regulate against an 'ISP tax', it has been claimed.
Mark Jackson, Editor in Chief of ISPreview, claimed the media regulator has "not gone far enough" to ensure broadband providers do not grant preferential internet traffic to paying companies.
Ofcom recently published a discussion paper on net neutrality, focusing on the practice of internet traffic management, and is currently seeking preliminary views on the issue.
"Behind the scenes, some of the country's largest ISPs are already discussing the possibility of forcing certain content providers to pay for preferential treatment over their fat pipes," he claimed.
Mr Jackson suggested that such a move would prove highly unpopular with consumers who enjoy using services such as Skype and content aggregators including YouTube.
"If you start attacking such crucial websites then where does it end? Will everybody one day need to pay some kind of ISP tax just to be visible?" he questioned.
Such an approach carries the risk of stifling new and innovative online content, leading to the internet becoming "a tightly restricted walled garden", Mr Jackson said.
"Commercial forces and politically corrupt governments would have ample room to abuse this," he added.