WASHINGTON – It wasn’t quite a victory lap, but Sen. Al Franken clearly savored Wednesday’s announcement by Federal Communications Commission Chair Tom Wheeler that he would propose new rules regulating broadband internet carriers.
“This is preserving net neutrality. That’s what just happened. We dodged a bullet,” said Franken at a news conference in Washington.
Net neutrality is the principle that broadband internet providers must treat data from all sources equally. In other words, that season of Friends you’re binge-watching on Netflix gets to your computer the same way your great-aunt’s knitting blog on Blogger gets to you.
Telecom firms such as Verizon had promoted the idea of “fast lanes” that would allow companies to pay for speedier, priority access and Wheeler had initially proposed a version of that plan to the FCC.
Franken and other, primarily liberal, lawmakers joined a grassroots campaign against those plans, which included flooding the FCC with four million comments against the proposal.