Sanders sends FCC 19K comments protesting ‘fast lane’ plan

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has sent the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) nearly 19,000 comments from constituents and others protesting FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler’s proposal to create Internet “fast lanes.”

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“Whether you run a huge website or a small blog, you should have equal access to Internet users without paying a ransom to providers like Comcast,” Sanders said in a statement.

Sanders’s nearly 19,000 comments — collected through his website — protest Wheeler’s plans to rewrite his agency’s net neutrality rules to allow Internet providers to charge websites and online services for speedier access to subscribers.

The FCC’s original net neutrality rules kept Internet providers from slowing or blocking access to certain websites before they were struck down by a federal court in January.

Despite assurances from Wheeler that his agency would police these fast lane arrangements, Democrats, tech companies and public interest groups have come out against the plan, warning that it could create a tiered Internet.

When Wheeler’s plans first surfaced last month, Sanders called the idea a “terribly misguided proposal.”

“We must not let private corporations turn bigger and bigger profits by putting a price tag on the free flow of ideas,” he said.

He also expressed concern about the proposal’s implications for the Internet’s role in democracy.

“Whether you are rich, poor, young or old, the Internet allows all people to seek out information and communicate globally,” he said. 

“We must not turn over our democracy to the highest bidder.”