10 US senators have joined the growing chorus of critics calling for FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler to eliminate the "fast lane" provision in his revised net neutrality proposal. In a letter addressed to Wheeler, the senators warn that such an inclusion could cause drastic and permanent harm to the internet. "Small businesses, content creators and Internet users must not be held hostage by an increasingly consolidated broadband industry," the letter says. Wheeler's net neutrality proposal, which the FCC will vote on May 15th, would allow ISPs to charge web companies "commercially reasonable" rates for improved access to consumers.
The letter — signed by senators Ron Wyden, Al Franken, Charles Schumer, Elizabeth Warren, Edward Markey, and others — advises that new net neutrality policies will only be a positive development if the FCC "can craft meaningful rules." "The current internet is a free market of products and ideas unparalleled in human history, and the FCC must preserve the type of internet access that allows that marketplace to thrive." Rules that allow internet providers to set up tolls and prioritize traffic would "eradicate" net neutrality according to the members of Congress. And they're using a popular argument that others have used to slam Wheeler's plan: "any time one group of packets is favored on an IP network, the rest of the traffic is, by default, discriminated against." The senators say that the FCC still has time to right the ship, but insist "consumers and innovators can not afford to wander through this regulatory murk any longer."