Democrats propose legislation that would force FCC to ban Internet fast lanes

Sen. Patrick Leahy and Rep. Doris Matsui were set to reveal bicameral legislation today

Topics: fast lane, Internet, FCC, Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vt., Rep. Doris Matsui, , ,

Democrats propose legislation that would force FCC to ban Internet fast lanesThis Oct. 14, 2013 file photo shows Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., walking through a corridor at the Capitol in Washington. (Credit: (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite))

Today the Washington Post reported that Democratic lawmakers in both the Senate and House would unveil legislation aimed to prevent an Internet fast lane.

The proposed bill was introduced by Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and Rep. Doris Matsui, D-Calif. It would require the FCC to use its authority to prevent the speeding up of some Internet entities at the expense of others. For example, speeding up a streaming video service at the expense of another Web service. The Post reports:

“It wouldn’t give the commission new powers, but the bill — known as the Online Competition and Consumer Choice Act — would give the FCC crucial political cover to prohibit what consumer advocates say would harm startup companies and Internet services by requiring them to pay extra fees to ISPs.”

The ban on “fast lanes” would apply to the connection between consumers and Internet service providers (ISPs), and would fall into current net neutrality rules.

The lack of  new authority created by the bill, means that the FCC will have to rely on the current power it has to ban an Internet fast lane — a power that is legally dubious.

Currently the FCC allows for a “tiered” Internet between companies and ISPs, and it looks at each “paid prioritization” — or speeding up — on a case-by-case basis.

Reclassifying broadband as a public utility is something that consumer advocates hope that FCC chairman Tom Wheeler will eventually implement.

The issue of net neutrality — one that has garnered serious attention in recent months — is splitting down party lines. In May Rep. Bob Latta, R-Ohio, proposed a bill “that would prevent the FCC from reclassifying broadband,” according to the Washington Post.

h/t Washington Post

Sarah Gray is an assistant editor at Salon, focusing on innovation. Follow @sarahhhgray or email

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 11
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    Burger King Japan

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Burger King's black cheeseburger: Made with squid ink and bamboo charcoal, arguably a symbol of meat's destructive effect on the planet. Only available in Japan.

    Elite Daily/Twitter

    2014's fast food atrocities

    McDonald's Black Burger: Because the laws of competition say that once Burger King introduces a black cheeseburger, it's only a matter of time before McDonald's follows suit. You still don't have to eat it.


    2014's fast food atrocities

    Domino's Specialty Chicken: It's like regular pizza, except instead of a crust, there's fried chicken. The company's marketing officer calls it "one of the most creative, innovative menu items we have ever had” -- brain power put to good use.


    2014's fast food atrocities

    Arby's Meat Mountain: The viral off-menu product containing eight different types of meat that, on second read, was probably engineered by Arby's all along. Horrific, regardless.


    2014's fast food atrocities

    KFC'S ZINGER DOUBLE DOWN KING: A sandwich made by adding a burger patty to the infamous chicken-instead-of-buns creation can only be described using all caps. NO BUN ALL MEAT. Only available in South Korea.

    Taco Bell

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Taco Bell's Waffle Taco: It took two years for Taco Bell to develop this waffle folded in the shape of a taco, the stand-out star of its new breakfast menu.

    Michele Parente/Twitter

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Krispy Kreme Triple Cheeseburger: Only attendees at the San Diego County Fair were given the opportunity to taste the official version of this donut-hamburger-heart attack combo. The rest of America has reasonable odds of not dropping dead tomorrow.

    Taco Bell

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Taco Bell's Quesarito: A burrito wrapped in a quesadilla inside an enigma. Quarantined to one store in Oklahoma City.

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Boston Pizza's Pizza Cake: The people's choice winner of a Canadian pizza chain's contest whose real aim, we'd imagine, is to prove that there's no such thing as "too far." Currently in development.


    2014's fast food atrocities

    7-Eleven's Doritos Loaded: "For something decadent and artificial by design," wrote one impassioned reviewer, "it only tasted of the latter."

  • Recent Slide Shows


Loading Comments...