Follow Us

We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message

US lawmakers introduce bill banning paid prioritization online

The bill from a group of Democratic lawmakers would prohibit preferential traffic management in the last mile

Article comments

A group of U.S. lawmakers have introduced legislation that would prohibit broadband providers from charging Web content generators for priority traffic management.

The Online Competition and Consumer Choice Act, introduced Tuesday by Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont and Representative Doris Matsui of California, along with three other Democrats, would ban broadband providers from collecting fees from websites and online services for preferential traffic handling. The bill is an effort to get out front of a contentious debate about net neutrality rules.

In April, U.S. Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler announced an effort to reinstate net neutrality rules after a U.S. appeals court threw out an old version of the regulations in January. But Wheeler's approach of allowing broadband providers to engage in "commercially reasonable" traffic management, and -- in some cases, possibly allowing paid prioritization -- has prompted an outcry from Internet users.

In the past month, the FCC's net neutrality proceeding has generated more than 120,000 public comments, with many people calling on the agency to regulate broadband like a utility and require that broadband providers treat all traffic equally.

The bill would prevent the "creation of a two-tiered Internet system," the lawmakers said in a press release.

"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," Leahy said in a statement.

The bill is needed to encourage innovation and competition on the Internet, Matsui added. "Our country cannot afford 'pay-for-play' schemes that divide our Internet into tiers based on who has the deepest pockets," she added in a statement. "This is essential to the growth of our economy, and the health of our democracy."

In mid-May, the FCC released a net neutrality proposal including Wheeler's ideas, but also asking if the agency should reclassify broadband as a regulated utility. The proposal asks for public comment on whether paid prioritization should be banned.

The Online Competition and Consumer Choice Act would require the FCC to prohibit paid prioritization agreements between ISPs and content providers on the last-mile Internet connection, and it would prohibit broadband providers from giving preferential treatment to its own last-mile Internet traffic or the traffic of its affiliates over the traffic of competitors.

The bill faces tough odds in the House of Representatives, where the Republican majority has opposed net neutrality rules. With mid-term congressional elections coming in November, it may be difficult to get any controversial legislation passed this year.

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.



Share:

More from Techworld

More relevant IT news

Comments



Send to a friend

Email this article to a friend or colleague:

PLEASE NOTE: Your name is used only to let the recipient know who sent the story, and in case of transmission error. Both your name and the recipient's name and address will not be used for any other purpose.

Techworld White Papers

Choose – and Choose Wisely – the Right MSP for Your SMB

End users need a technology partner that provides transparency, enables productivity, delivers...

Download Whitepaper

10 Effective Habits of Indispensable IT Departments

It’s no secret that responsibilities are growing while budgets continue to shrink. Download this...

Download Whitepaper

Gartner Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Information Archiving

Enterprise information archiving is contributing to organisational needs for e-discovery and...

Download Whitepaper

Advancing the state of virtualised backups

Dell Software’s vRanger is a veteran of the virtualisation specific backup market. It was the...

Download Whitepaper

Techworld UK - Technology - Business

Innovation, productivity, agility and profit

Watch this on demand webinar which explores IT innovation, managed print services and business agility.

Techworld Mobile Site

Access Techworld's content on the move

Get the latest news, product reviews and downloads on your mobile device with Techworld's mobile site.

Find out more...

From Wow to How : Making mobile and cloud work for you

On demand Biztech Briefing - Learn how to effectively deliver mobile work styles and cloud services together.

Watch now...

Site Map

* *