Franken: New FCC Rules Would ‘Destroy’ Open Internet

Senator blasts FCC chair for “fast lanes” in net-neutrality proposal.

Al Franken  at Senate Judiciary privacy subcommittee- top reps from Google and Apple as well as admin officials and industry leaders are set to testify on mobile-phone tracking on May 10, 2011.
National Journal
Laura Ryan
Add to Briefcase
See more stories about...
Laura Ryan
April 29, 2014, 2:13 p.m.

The Fed­er­al Com­mu­nic­a­tions Com­mis­sion’s re­cent pro­pos­al to al­low In­ter­net ser­vice pro­viders to charge web­sites for faster ser­vice is an “af­front” to the open In­ter­net, Sen. Al Franken said Tues­day.

The Min­nesota Demo­crat sent FCC Chair­man Tom Wheel­er a let­ter blast­ing the net-neut­ral­ity reg­u­la­tions he in­tro­duced last week, say­ing the “fast lanes” un­der­mine the core prin­ciples of net neut­ral­ity: open­ness and com­pet­i­tion.

“Sanc­tion­ing pay-to-play ar­range­ments would not pre­serve the Open In­ter­net — it would des­troy it,” wrote Franken, who is an out­spoken sup­port­er of net neut­ral­ity.

Such an ar­range­ment would give “deep-pock­eted” com­pan­ies, such as Net­flix or Face­book, an un­fair ad­vant­age over small com­pan­ies that would not be able to pay for faster ser­vice, he wrote.

“This pro­pos­al would cre­ate an on­line ‘fast lane’ for the highest bid­der — shut­ting out small busi­nesses and in­creas­ing costs for con­sumers,” Franken wrote.

Franken’s words echo the sen­ti­ments of many con­sumer-ad­vocacy groups and lib­er­al law­makers, who have slammed the pro­posed reg­u­la­tions since they were in­tro­duced last week.

But Wheel­er denies that his pro­posed rules would “gut” net neut­ral­ity, and he has prom­ised to pur­sue stronger rules if these ones fall short.

“I be­lieve this pro­cess will put us on track to have tough, en­force­able Open In­ter­net rules on the books in an ex­ped­i­tious man­ner, end­ing a dec­ade of un­cer­tainty and lit­ig­a­tion,” Wheel­er wrote in a blog post Tues­day.

The FCC first ad­op­ted net-neut­ral­ity rules in 2010, but a fed­er­al court struck them down in Janu­ary. The ori­gin­al rules for­bade In­ter­net pro­viders from block­ing web­sites or dis­crim­in­at­ing against In­ter­net traffic. Wheel­er’s new pro­pos­al would still ban block­ing, but would per­mit In­ter­net pro­viders to charge for faster speeds, as long as the ar­range­ments are “com­mer­cially reas­on­able.”

The FCC’s five com­mis­sion­ers will vote to ad­vance the pro­pos­al at the next open com­mis­sion meet­ing on May 15. The com­mis­sion will ac­cept pub­lic com­ments on the new pro­pos­al be­fore it is fi­nal­ized. 

What We're Following See More »
WILL TEST THE NORTH’S STANDDOWN
Joint U.S., South Korea War Games Set to Begin
4 hours ago
THE LATEST

"A new cycle of escalation on the Korean Peninsula looks set to begin this week when the U.S. and South Korea kick off annual military exercises that have a history of enraging Pyongyang." The long-planned drills, set to last ten days, "will test whether North Korea’s apparent easing of its immediate threat to Guam proves durable—or if the de-escalation was really a backdown at all."

Source:
SAYS TRUMP JUST ATTACKING REPUBLICANS
Former Top Aide to McConnell Says GOPers Should Abandon Trump
3 days ago
THE LATEST
“YOU CAN’T CHANGE HISTORY, BUT YOU CAN LEARN FROM IT”
Trump Defends Confederate Statues in Tweetstorm
3 days ago
WHY WE CARE
CEOS HAVE BEEN FLEEING FOR THE EXITS
Trump to End Business Councils
4 days ago
THE LATEST
FROM STATEMENT
McConnell: “No Good Neo-Nazis”
4 days ago
THE LATEST
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login