10.23.14

Judiciary Chairman Leahy Presses Leading Broadband Providers To Fight Against Internet Fast Lanes

Leahy Continues His Call for AT&T, Verizon, and other Internet Service Providers To Demonstrate Their Commitment to an Open Internet

WASHINGTON (Thursday, October 23, 2014) – Following a letter to Comcast sent earlier this week, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) on Thursday continued his call for leading broadband providers to take a stand against fast lanes on the Internet.  In letters sent to AT&T, Verizon, Time Warner Cable, and Charter Communications, Leahy pressed for concrete commitments that the companies will not enter into paid prioritization agreements to charge websites for priority access over the Internet. 

“Allowing the Internet to become a two-tiered system of ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots,’ controlled by a small number of corporate gatekeepers, would destroy everything that has made it one of the greatest innovations in human history,” Leahy wrote in the letters.  “We need meaningful pledges from our Nation’s broadband providers that they share the American public’s commitment to an Internet that remains open and equally accessible to all.”

Leahy previously raised concerns about a tiered Internet at a Judiciary Committee hearing in April, and he chaired hearings in July and September on the need to keep the Internet open to all Americans.  He also introduced legislation with Congresswoman Doris Matsui (D-Calif.) that would ban paid prioritization arrangements.

Following a similar request to Comcast earlier this week, Leahy asked each broadband provider “to pledge that it will not engage in paid prioritization.”  He also pressed each company for a specific commitment “not to engage in any activity that prioritizes affiliated content or services over unaffiliated content or services, helping to ensure that vertical integration does not threaten competition online.  Making these pledges will go a long way to ensuring that the Internet as we know it will remain open, vibrant, and competitive.” 

A copy of the letters to AT&T, Verizon, Time Warner Cable, and Charter Communications can be found online.

 

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