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10 Senators Blast FCC-Proposed Internet ‘Fast Lane’ Net Neutrality Rules

TechCrunch logo TechCrunch 12/05/2014 Alex Wilhelm

Ten U.S. Senators, including Sens. Wyden, Warren, Franken, and Booker, today  to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler in opposition to his proposed rules-changes to net neutrality that would create so-called Internet ‘fast lanes.’

As we’ve covered a half-dozen times, the proposal cuts at the heart of net neutrality’s bent on non-discrimination, by allowing by allowing preferential throttling of internet traffic. This distorts the market.

The senators seem to completely understand this. Their letter addresses the proper concerns and, eloquently, pushes back against the narrative that Wheeler himself has continued to advance. It’s worth noting that several FCC commissioners have called for at least a delay of the vote on the changes, which could take place on May 15th. So, we’re racing towards the deadline here.

Here are the key paragraphs from the letter:

The first paragraphs deal well with the core issue at hand, paid prioritization, while the last segment elides the validity of peering agreements by which ISPs can elicit fees from content companies for access to their network.

Netflix has written in opposition to peering agreements, precisely at the same time as it has signed two of them. In its view, ‘weak’ net neutrality preserves pack non-discrimination, while ‘strong’ net neutrality would also ban peering agreements.

The above letter certainly amps the pressure on Chairman Wheeler to recant his bent to vote as quickly as possible on the rules. Wagering a guess: If the vote is delayed, the rules as so-far detailed won’t pass. It’s taken some time, but the noise of the pushback has finally reached the tenor and strength required to cause change.

You and I don’t have squat for power, but a senator does, and ten in unison is more than slightly noticeable.


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