New 'Net Neutrality' Bill Good Step, But Not Enough, say Internet Advocates
A new bill banning “fast lanes” on the Internet was unveiled in both the Senate and House on Tuesday.
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The bill, dubbed the the Online Competition and Consumer Choice Act, was introduced by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Representative Doris Matsui (D-Calif.).
“Americans […] 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,” said Leahy in a press statement.
“Our country cannot afford ‘pay-for-play’ schemes that divide our Internet into tiers based on who has the deepest pockets,” added Matsui.
However, consumer groups and advocates of net neutrality are skeptical that the legislation will go far enough to limit efforts by corporate telecom companies such as AT&T, Comcast and Verizon to create a “two-tiered” Internet by offering faster service to those who can afford the fee.
The legislation does not grant the Federal Communications Commission any new regulatory powers. Rather, it directs the agency to “rely on its current authorities” to prevent Internet Service Providers (or ISPs) from providing paid prioritization for certain types of content.
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