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.
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The FCC's proposed rules, up for public comment until September 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.
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