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 Sports

Union appeals Rice’s indefinite suspension by NFL

Fresh
Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice sits on the sideline in the second half of an NFL preseason football game against the San Francisco 49ers, Thursday, Aug. 7. Rice was suspended by the NFL for the first two games of the regular season, but was cut by the Ravens before he could serve out the suspension. Photo: Associated Press/Nick Wass

Rice was originally handed a two-game suspension in July under the NFL's personal conduct policy after he was charged with assault following a Feb. 15 altercation with his then-fiancee in a casino elevator.

in Entertainment

CBS: Rihanna out of NFL telecast

In this Sept. 24 photo, Rihanna performs in Perth, Australia during the first concert of the Australian leg of her Diamonds World Tour. Photo: Associated Press

CBS and Rihanna are splitting up after more fallout from the Ray Rice incident.

in Local Sports

UW basketball TV schedule released

uw university of washington huskies new court

The University of Washington and the PAC-12 have released the television broadcast schedule for the 2014-15 basketball season.

in Sports

Sacramento Kings to retire Stojakovic’s jersey

Sacramento Kings' Vlade Divac, left, and Peja Stojakovic chat on the bench during the first quarter of Sacramento's preseason game against the Cleveland Cavaliers in Los Angeles, Thursday, Oct. 24, 2002. The Kings won 115-94.

The Kings announced Tuesday that Stojakovic's jersey will be retired when they host Oklahoma City on Dec. 16

in Sports

Anheuser-Busch ‘disappointed’ in NFL

A large image of the Anheuser-Busch Clydesdales adorns the side of the company's headquarters and primary brewery Tuesday, May 27, 2008, in St. Louis. Reports that the company might be purchased by Belgium-based brewer InBev have residents worried they might lose a company as closely identified with St. Louis as the iconic Gateway Arch downtown.

The beer giant issued a statement on Tuesday saying it was "disappointed and increasingly concerned" by recent incidents with the NFL.