Democrats' bill would ban paid prioritization by ISPs

Legislation would require the FCC to prohibit traffic priority deals between ISPs and Web content providers

Democrats in the U.S. Congress have wasted no time in resurrecting a debate over net neutrality rules, with lawmakers introducing a bill that would ban paid traffic priority agreements between broadband providers and Web content producers.

A day after new members of Congress were seated, Democrats on Wednesday introduced a bill in both the House of Representatives and the Senate that would require the U.S. Federal Communications Commission to ban paid prioritization agreements. The FCC is preparing to vote on new net neutrality rules in late February, after an appeals court threw out a large portion of the agency's old rules a year ago.

The reintroduced Online Competition and Consumer Choice Act, which failed to pass after Democrats introduced it last year, is designed to prevent broadband providers from creating Internet fast lanes and slow lanes, based on the ability of Web content providers and services to pay for faster speeds, sponsors said.

The primary sponsors of the bill are Senator Patrick Leahy, a Vermont Democrat, and Representative Doris Matsui, a California Democrat. Other co-sponsors include six Democratic representatives, three Democratic senators, and independent Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

"The Internet must be a platform for free expression and innovation, and a place where the best ideas and services can reach consumers based on merit rather than based on a financial relationship with a broadband provider," Leahy said in a statement. "The Online Competition and Consumer Choice Act would protect consumers and sets out important policy positions that the FCC should adopt."

FCC rules must ensure "there are no tolls, gatekeepers, or a two-tiered Internet system in this country," Matsui added in a statement.

Republicans now hold the majority in both the House and the Senate, and many have voiced opposition to strong net neutrality regulations. While the Democrats' bill is unlikely to pass, it puts political pressure on the FCC to ban paid prioritization. An early proposal by FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler would have allowed broadband providers to engage in "commercially reasonable" traffic management and, in limited cases, sign traffic prioritization deals.

The bill would require the FCC to prohibit paid prioritization agreements on the last-mile Internet connection, the connection between the ISP and the consumer. It would also prohibit broadband providers from prioritizing its own last-mile Internet traffic over the traffic of other companies.

Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's email address is grant_gross@idg.com.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags telecommunicationBernie SandersregulationU.S. CongressU.S. Federal Communications CommissionlegislationgovernmentDoris MatsuiinternetPatrick LeahyInternet service providersbroadband

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Grant Gross

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Crucial Ballistix Elite 32GB Kit (4 x 8GB) DDR4-3000 UDIMM

Learn more >

Gadgets & Things

Lexar® Professional 1000x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Family Friendly

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Plox Star Wars Death Star Levitating Bluetooth Speaker

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?