News

Lawmakers want to ban ‘paid prioritization’ of the Internet

Lawmakers want to ban ‘paid prioritization’ of the Internet

NET NEUTRALITY: The bill would require the FCC to prohibit such agreements for paid prioritization on the so-called "last mile," the part of the network that goes from the Internet service providers to the consumer. Photo: clipart.com

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Two U.S. Democratic lawmakers on Tuesday introduced legislation in the Senate and the House of Representatives to ban deals where Web content companies could pay Internet service providers to deliver their traffic to users faster and more reliably.

The bicameral bill by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy of Vermont and Representative Doris Matsui of California comes as the Federal Communications Commission is collecting public comments on new “net neutrality” rules.

The FCC’s proposed rules, up for public comment until Sept. 10, prohibit Internet providers from blocking or slowing down access to websites but may let them charge content companies to prioritize their traffic as long as such deals are deemed “commercially reasonable.”

The proposal, however, also seeks comment on whether all or some such pay-for-priority deals should also be banned.

Leahy’s and Matsui’s bill would require the FCC to prohibit such agreements for paid prioritization on the so-called “last mile,” the part of the network that goes from the Internet service providers to the consumer.

“Americans are speaking loud and clear – they want an Internet that is a platform for free expression and innovation, where the best ideas and services can reach consumers based on merit rather than based on a financial relationship with a broadband provider,” said Leahy, who plans to hold a field hearing on net neutrality in Vermont next month.

The legislation would not apply to so-called interconnection deals, like the ones that have triggered a spat between Netflix Inc, Comcast Corp and Verizon Communications Inc. The FCC is reviewing such deals but has not historically regulated them.

Experts have disputed how much authority the FCC has to prohibit discrimination involving traffic. Its previous set of net neutrality rules was rejected in January by an appeals court in a case brought by Verizon.

Comcast, through a condition placed on its purchase of NBC Universal in 2011, is now the only company bound by the earlier version of the rules, which allowed “commercially reasonable” discrimination of traffic, but signaled that potential pay-for-priority deals would “raise significant cause for concern.”

(Reporting by Alina Selyukh; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)

Recent Headlines

in Entertainment

Today’s celebrity birthdays

tomlin

These celebrities will celebrate their birthdays on Labor Day.

in Sports

Down at half, US beats Turkey in basketball worlds

Basketball

Kenneth Faried scored 22 points, Anthony Davis all of his 19 in the second half, and the U.S. rebounded from a rare deficit at halftime to beat Turkey 98-77 on Sunday in the Basketball World Cup.

in Sports

AP source: Chiefs’ Smith agrees to 4-yr extension

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith (11) signals at the line of scrimmage behind offensive tackle Eric Fisher (72), guard Geoff Schwartz (74), and next to fullback Anthony Sherman (42) against the Oakland Raiders during the first half of an NFL football game in Oakland, Calif., Sunday, Dec. 15, 2013.

Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith has agreed to a four-year, $68 million extension that includes $45 million in guaranteed money, a person familiar with the contract told The Associated Press.

in Sports

49er McDonald jailed for alleged domestic violence

San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh, foreground, stands on the sideline during the fourth quarter of an NFL football game against the Indianapolis Colts in San Francisco, Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013.

Police in Northern California say San Francisco 49er Ray McDonald has been arrested on domestic violence charges.

in Sports

NCAA Football: Top 25 scoreboard

football genric image

The Associated Press Top 25 scoreboard

Bellingham Traffic