Senator Martin Heinrich Cosponsors Landmark Net Neutrality Legislation

The Online Competition and Consumer Choice Act would protect consumers, prevent a two-tiered Internet system

U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) is cosponsoring net neutrality legislation that would help prevent the creation of a two-tiered Internet system by requiring the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to ban so-called “paid prioritization” agreements between a broadband provider and a content provider.  Introduction of the legislation, the Online Competition and Consumer Choice Act, comes as the FCC prepares to approve updated open Internet rules in February.

“Ensuring a free and open Internet is essential for New Mexico businesses to compete on an even playing field,” said Sen. Heinrich. “As a staunch supporter of net neutrality, I believe the FCC should establish strong, enforceable rules to spur innovation, protect consumers, and preserve competition.”

The bill would help guarantee that start-ups and entrepreneurs have access to the marketplace and ensure consumers can access all content equally. Nearly 4 million Americans wrote to the FCC last year in support of a free and open Internet and against a two-tiered system.

The Online Competition and Consumer Choice Act would require the FCC to use its existing authority to prohibit paid prioritization agreements between Internet Service Providers (ISP) and content providers on the last mile Internet connection, which is the connection between the ISP and the consumer.  In addition, it would prohibit broadband providers from prioritizing or otherwise giving preferential treatment to its own last mile Internet traffic or the traffic of its affiliates over the traffic of others.

Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Congresswoman Doris Matsui (D-Calif.), member of the House Energy and Commerce Communications and Technology Subcommittee, introduced the bill today.

A copy of the bill is available here.