updated 12:08 pm EDT, Tue June 17, 2014
Deal covers consumer speeds, not peering deals between companies
Some Democratic senators are looking at a ban on the US Federal Communication Commission (FCC) proposal to allow Internet "fast lanes." Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Doris Matsui (D-CA) have proposed a bill that codifies the FCC's existing authority to ensure that Internet Service Providers don't allow some content providers faster access at the expense of other services.
"Americans are speaking loud and clear," said Leahy while floating the Online Competition and Consumer Choice Act. "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."
The bill only covers consumers' connections. Peering deals like those signed by Netflix with Verizon and Comcast aren't covered. The FCC isn't given any additional power, which leads to questions on how effective the enforcement of the bill would be.
"A free and open Internet is essential for consumers," said Matsui. "Our country cannot afford 'pay-for-play' schemes that divide our Internet into tiers based on who has the deepest pockets."
The introduction of this bill shows the disparate views the parties have on the net neutrality issue and its enforcement. Last month, Republican lawmakers proposed legislation that would prevent the FCC from implementing Title II regulation, or governance as a utility, on ISPs who do not hew to FCC regulations.
More information on the bill is expected later today. The bill isn't expected to survive debate, given the Republican majority.