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Democrats challenge net neutrality axe with legislation banning internet fast lanes

Would force the FCC to protect neutrality
Tue Jun 17 2014, 17:50

Federal Communications Commission emblemUNITED STATES SENATORS have introduced legislation to prevent the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) from allowing internet fast lanes.

As the consultation period over the FCC plans for the future of net neutrality continues, two senators have proposed an Online Competition and Consumer Choice Act, which, according to the Washington Post, would require the FCC to use "whatever authority it sees fit to make sure that internet providers don't speed up certain types of content (like Netflix videos) at the expense of others (like e-mail)."

Democratic Senators Patrick Leahy and Doris Matsui who have proposed the bill are not seeking to give the FCC additional powers, but rather to ensure that it uses its existing powers to ensure that net neutrality is maintained.

Matsui told the Washington Post, "Our country cannot afford 'pay-for-play' schemes that divide our internet into tiers based on who has the deepest pockets."

This is, however, not the first legislation proposed on the subject. In May, Republican Senator Bob Latta proposed a bill that would ban the FCC from reclassifying broadband as a Title II telecoms service.

The telecoms classification would enforce net neutrality by guaranteeing internet users a universal service level, similar to that in place for telephone service.

At the end of the 60 day consultation period over net neutrality, a further 60 days will be used by the FCC to make its decision. Former cable company lobbyist and FCC chairman Tom Wheeler has made it clear that he is in favour of paid prioritisation, and claims that it does not mean the end of net neutrality.

Net neutrality campaigners argue that those statements are oxymoronic. µ


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