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Committee Chairman Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) (R) and ranking member Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) (L) preside over the second day of U.S. Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan's confirmation hearings in front of the Senate Judiciary Commitee on Capitol Hill in

A bicameral bill from congressional Democrats that would force the Federal Communications Commission to ban "paid prioritization" was released Tuesday. The FCC is currently considering a proposal that would allow internet service providers to charge for faster delivery, an idea that guts the idea of net neutrality—that every bit of content on the internet has the same priority as every other bit of content. The legislation would block this FCC proposal/
The proposal, put forward by Senate Judiciary Committee chair Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Rep. Doris Matsui (D-Calif.), requires the FCC to use whatever authority it sees fit to make sure that Internet providers don't speed up certain types of content (like Netflix videos) at the expense of others (like e-mail). 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.
Saying that "Americans are speaking loud and clear," Leahy intends to preserve "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." He is having field hearings on net neutrality in Vermont this summer.

This legislation isn't going to move forward any time soon, not with a Republican House that doesn't move anything, and that is hostile to any kind of FCC regulation. But it's a key political statement to the FCC, and is intended to send a message about how important net neutrality is, according to a Democratic aide:

"The point is: Ban paid prioritization. Because that'll fundamentally change how the Internet works."
In other words, the proposal the FCC is considering right now will change the internet as we know it. That's something congressional Democrats want to stop.

If you haven't already, send your comments supporting net neutrality. You can use the FCC comments page; the inbox they set up specifically for this issue,; and with Daily Kos's petition.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 02:32 PM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (47+ / 0-)

    "The NSA’s capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left, such is the capability to monitor everything. [...] There would be no place to hide."--Frank Church

    by Joan McCarter on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 02:32:28 PM PDT

  •  Here's hoping that paid prioritization (2+ / 0-)

    dies on the vine.

    If there's a "fast lane," which is such a marketing term, then there is also a slow lane, and without legislated standards for the bandwidth and latency of the slow lane, we're fucked.

    I'd be fine with paid prioritization if the performance criteria of the slow lane or "normal" internet were regulated by legislation.  Without that, we're at the mercy of the Comcasts and AT&T's.  Fuck that.

    You mess with the bull, you get the antlers...Taibbi on Friedman

    by JT88 on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 03:01:58 PM PDT

    •  I agree completely and will add that (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      xenothaulus, PorridgeGun

      to really achieve Net Neutrality what is needed is guaranteed access at reasonable prices for consumers.

      I'm fine with Netflix and other video providers paying for faster paths.  That is actually part of the technical design of the Net, called the Q bit for Quality of Service.

      The real problem we are facing as a nation is how expensive out access for consumers is.  The ISP's (Internet Service Providers) should be regulated utilities like electric, gas and water service.  We should also be guaranteed that if voters want it a muni service can be set up.  ALEC has been active around the country trying to ban that.

      Congressional elections have consequences!

      by Cordyc on Wed Jun 18, 2014 at 07:22:34 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  This won't work. (0+ / 0-)

    They're not so much going to put in a fast lane as they are going to slow it down for people.

    30, white male, TX-07 (current), TN-09 (born), TN-08 (where parents live now)

    by TDDVandy on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 03:37:39 PM PDT

  •  Would that mean that (0+ / 0-)

    an individual at home would get the same bandwidth as a Netflix?

  •  Looks to me like ISPs aren't waiting. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Brown Thrasher

    3 nights running at peak time now and I couldn't run a few you tube videos; all the vevo ones ran fine. And yes the free porn I view wouldn't run at all. Also netflix asked permission to run searchlight, which all tells me there's already fast and slow lanes. Give it a try with big buck stuff versus free stuff. Check for similar results. My computer is blazingly fast and I run at 7 megs. Thoughts?

  •  All Hail the People's Republic of Cyberstan! n/t (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Oliver Tiger, brightlights

    Isn't it a good feeling when you see the paper in the morning, it says 'Axe Slayer Kills 19' and you say, "They can't pin that one on me!" - Jean Shepherd

    by razajac on Wed Jun 18, 2014 at 06:48:07 PM PDT

  •  Sounds like not just the FCC (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GreatLakeSailor, Brown Thrasher

    is getting an earful!

    Marx was an optimist.

    by psnyder on Wed Jun 18, 2014 at 06:48:24 PM PDT

  •  &, btw, ... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Brown Thrasher's funny they're calling it "Paid Prioritization". I believe that folks in the tech community call it "Class Of Service" (COS).

    I guess there's some value in the Dems appellation: It highlights the prioritization aspect, and that has consciousness-raising value.

    Isn't it a good feeling when you see the paper in the morning, it says 'Axe Slayer Kills 19' and you say, "They can't pin that one on me!" - Jean Shepherd

    by razajac on Wed Jun 18, 2014 at 06:50:50 PM PDT

    •  Not really. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      "Class of service" isn't mostly about speed.  It's about other characteristics, notably error rates, latency (round-trip delay between two parties), and jitter (changes in speed over short intervals of time).

      Interactive voice - read: telephony - doesn't need much speed at all, but it does need very low latency and low jitter. It can even tolerate more errors - the ear and nerves average things out.  A movie download is the reverse: it doesn't matter much if there is a four-second delay before the first screen image arrives, if the whole movie gets delivered in a couple of minutes.

      The notion of creating separate "class of service" channels within a single broadband connection, and having similar applications compete within each channel, isn't too controversial.

      "Paid prioritization" is a different matter.  In that model, the customer has to pay extra to use one of those channels.  There might be a Video Channel A delivering movies at 5 Mbps, and a Video Channel B delivering exactly the same type of content at 50 Mbps.

      That's controversial.

  •  Make... Them... Vote! (6+ / 0-)

    Reid should bring this to the floor immediately, and Pelosi should start collecting signatures for a discharge petition. Even if the GOTP Senators filibuster and Boehner keeps chanting, "No, no, no,", it'll show people which side they're on -- not that we don't know which side that is already.

    "If you're going to go down with the ship, make it a submarine." - Wayne Shorter

    by Oliver Tiger on Wed Jun 18, 2014 at 06:51:50 PM PDT

  •  You know the Republicans will vote against this (0+ / 0-)

    because, well capitalism and free market.

  •  It would be a mistake... (0+ / 0-) ban all paid prioritization.

    Cross network QoS may be useful for some applications such as live, two way teleconferencing, gaming, or even just VOIP and I'm potentially willing, as a consumer, to pay extra for the improved quality for those services. However when downloading a movie for later viewing or a Linux ISO, I don't care much about latency and am not interested in having to pay for more than I need.

    If an independent teleconferencing provider can't get QoS to/over my ISP connection, they can't offer the highest quality service for any price. If they can buy access, they can. If everyone can specify high QoS levels w/o paying extra, everyone will just select a high level for everything and it becomes meaningless.

    Generally, regulation is needed here, but broad brush "no pay for better service" or "no fast lanes" isn't going to benefit the consumer.

    Many ISPs provide VOIP service now that exits to POTS without leaving their network. At least some ISPs (perhaps all) prioritize these VIOP packets over other packets. Will they be prevented from doing this by this proposal because it is a "fast lane" that, from a practical standpoint, can't be made available to everyone who asks? This won't help the consumer as then there will be NO great VOIP available at any price to consumers.

    •  The providers should just (0+ / 0-)

      make networks good enough to hand voip and normal traffic at the same time without prioritization.  Our internet infrastructure is worse than any other first world country.

      •  That's very expensive... (0+ / 0-) do when considering unpredictable peak usage.

        Cable based systems, for example, are a shared resource among many homes. If there were another 9/11 near a neighborhood, it's likely that most cable internet subscribers in that neighborhood would start streaming footage from the news, YouTube etc and the local shared cable infrastructure would become a limiting factor. If someone in that neighborhood were trying to carry on a two way teleconference at the same time, the quality of their experience is likely to suffer significantly without QoS.

        True, you can buy your own leased line to at least get rid of your shared cable bottlenecks, but even DS1 lines are not cheap. To get the experience one is used to with cable internet access at "normal" cable speeds (20-50 Mbit/s), I believe a DS3 would be required - which is out of reach for most consumers (pricing varies widely, based in part on geography, but $3000/month seems to be an "as low as" number).

        Also, keep in mind that bandwidth is quite different from latency.

        •  This makes no sense (0+ / 0-)

          In other countries, people get better Internet service for less money. The ISPs enter into peering agreements with backbone providers and they both build out their infrastructure together.

          Only here in America do ISPs refuse to peer with backbone providers unless those backbone providers pay for both sets of equipment.

          In countries where ISPs monopoly power is limited by law, the ISPs do not abuse their power and oversell their capacity without building out in tandem with the backbone provder.

          You say it is very expensive to do it, but we are the only country that doesn't. Have you read Level 3's take on the issue? Here you go.

          You are just mouthing typical American ISP clap-trap. The limiting factor is ISP monopoly power in America. They refuse to spend enough money to actually have the capacity they advertise. In the rest of the world, that would be illegal fraud. Only here in America do we let corporations get away with it.

          But we don't have to let them. And we shouldn't let them.

          I say we socialize the lot of them, use emminent domain to take over, pay their investors fire sale prices, and make them into co-operatives. Then we might be able to catch up with the rest of the developed world.

          •  Heck, I would be happy (0+ / 0-)

            if they were just classified as utilities and had profits limited and required to truthfully advertise.  My internet package is advertised 30 Mbit/s.  I have only seen it break 5 Mbit/s once.  It is just a straight lie.  Now it is faster than when I the 5 Mbit/s package, then it was actually capped at 1 Mbit/s.

        •  That is fine, (0+ / 0-)

          as we already pay some of the highest rate for internet in the entire world and the government gave them billions in the 90's to upgrade and they simply took the money and ran.  

          The problem is greed.  Many of my relatives live in KC and they google is having no problem providing internet that is both much faster and much cheaper.  The problem is that the cable companies were given local monopolies and have gotten used to making massive profits with no competition and no infrastructure investment.

          I understand that super great internet is not practical in rural areas, but in urban and suburban areas there is no excuse for such poor infrastructure with such high prices.  A couple years ago I lived in a suburb of Paris, France for a few months.  I got 30 Mbit/s unlimited internet for 20 Euros per month.  This is because there is actually competition there.  There were many companies I could choose from.

        •  Sorry but the "quality of service" payment syst... (0+ / 0-)

          Sorry but the "quality of service" payment system is already in use now and it is full of false advertisement. I am on a "100 Mbit/s" down system with 500gig bandwidth, which is the highest speed and most bandwidth offered by my cable provider. I've never clocked over 20Mbit/s speeds at off-peak times, which means my QoS is a complete falsification. If the FCC has its way, then my cable provider will be double dipping in income, more than likely not offering Netflix or me the advertised speed for the money. You assume that the providers will uphold their end of the bargain, but many don't now with the fairly unregulated system we currently have and the billionaires claim they love so much that they are willing to bend over backwards for? How exactly will this fix mine and others' issues by allowing them to charge even more for poorly offered services?

          P.S.: Don't even get me started on the billions providers bilked the government out of for "improvements" to availability and speed. Meanwhile Korea and Japan have 50Mbit/s lines as their "bottom end" and 1Gbit/s at the top? I thought we were innovators and our "free market" kept us out front? LOL

  •  So, Democrats have to act to stop Obama? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Am I the only person who thinks it is nuts that Congressional Democrats are now having to try to take action to stop the Obama-appointed and controlled FCC from enacting internet favoritism?

    And last week they had to act to stop him from appointing a judge so conservative he would have made Reagan blush?

  •  This is yet another effort by (0+ / 0-)

    right wing investor billionaires to insure that the vast majority of Americans have no access whatsoever to news or information that affects their lives.

    We no longer have a working news media.  Stories about things like fracking, and the abuses of wall street get NO attention, while we get endless focus on the crisis du jour for hours and hours and hours.

    Infotainment is the best we can hope for: or idiot battles about increasingly disgusting comments, made to get repeated over and over again to distract from climate change, our inflated stock market, the fact that the oil and gas industries are leaching money from our nation, and that fifty percent of our nation is in serious drought; drinking water is in short supply, and our institutions are being dismantled to insure we have NOTHING left.

    To find out ANYTHING takes hours of research sifting through whatever is on the internet.  Its already slower than anywhere else in the world.

  •  About Time (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I want to know who's voting for it--and who isn't. I have to place my bets for the next election.

  •  While they're at it they could ban advertising ... (0+ / 0-)

    While they're at it they could ban advertising and pop ups

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