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October 21, 2014

Senator Hoping to Avoid ‘Fast Lanes’

Writes to Comcast Asking for Avoidance of Paid Prioritization

Senator Patrick Leahy doesn’t want life in the fast lane, not if it involves the Internet, anyway.


Senator Patrick Leahy

The Democrat, who serves as the chairman for the Senate Judiciary Committee, requested  Comcast to vow it won’t enter into any paid prioritization agreements where websites could pay for priority access over the Internet. Such agreements are referred to as ‘fast lanes.’

Leahy, Monday, issued a release outlining his concerns and his request.

“Small business owners that rely on the Internet to reach customers, independent content producers who rely on new platforms to gain an audience, and start-up ventures of all sizes have loudly and validly expressed concern that paid prioritization online would change the Internet as we know it,” Leahy wrote in a letter to David Cohen, executive vice president of Comcast.

“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.”

It would appear Leahy has nothing to fear in the immediate future. Comcast — currently in the midst of a major potential merger with Time Warner Cable — has already said it’s not interested in such moves, for now.

As The New York Times reported, the company made a commitment through to 2018 to refrain from creating any fast lanes. In addition, Comcast has publicly stated in the past it has no intention to move ahead of paid prioritization.

“I also ask that Comcast pledge 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,” Leahy wrote.

“Making these pledges will go a long way to ensuring that the Internet as we know it will remain open, vibrant, and competitive.”


W. Brice McVicar is a staff writer for SiteProNews.