Ten U.S. Senators have signed on to a letter that was sent to the Federal Communications Commission to express their opposition to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler's proposal to change the Open Internet Order (also known as net neutrality) to allow ISPs to charge content providers fees for faster lanes to their customers.
In their letter to the FCC the ten Senators addresses their deep concerns with these changes, which opponents say basically kills net neutrality. The letter was signed by Sens. Ron Wyden, Chuck Schumer, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Al Franken, Kirsten Gilibrand, Ed Markey, Jeff Merkley, Cory Booker, Barbara Boxer, and Ed Blumenthal.
They say that paid prioritization is a bad idea:
"Unfortunately we fear that specific provisions of the NPRM may be insufficient to accomplish the task. The current internet is a free market of products and ideas unparalleled in human history, and the FCC must preserve the type of Internet access that allows that marketplace to thrive. Unfortunately, reports on your current proposal suggest it may have unintended, deleterious effects. While several posts and statements from the Chairman's office offer assurances about your goals, we worry that the NPRM language would permit broadband providers to collect new tolls from innovators, entrepreneurs, and all manner of speakers on the Internet.
Particularly concerning are reports that the NPRM will allow 'paid prioritization arrangements' as long as they are ' commercially reasonable' as determined by a complicated series of tests that the Commission has yet to develop. Changing the rules – to let broadband Internet Service Providers (ISPs) demand payment from websites and app developers – would eradicate Net Neutrality, not preserve it. Any time one group of packets is favored on an IP network the rest of the traffic is, by definition, discriminated against. Given the current state of congestion to the ISPs have allowed to developer at their interconnections with the Internet, and discrimination results in a degradation or blocking of services to the consumers – services the consumer has paid for."
The letter is the latest in a series of public challenges to Wheeler's proposed changes to net neutrality. While rights groups and petitions can change public perception on issues, lawmakers have considerably more clout when it comes to forcing government agencies to do the right thing.
You can read the entire on Senator Wyden's official Senate page.
We'll have more on this story as it develops.