Senator Patrick Leahy Requests Comcast To Swear It Will Not Break Net Neutrality

While the Federal Communications Commission sorts through all the feedback and arguments regarding net neutrality and internet fast lanes, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy has been taking a more direct approach. Recently, Leahy sent a letter to Comcast executive vice president David Cohen pressuring the company to make assurances that it will continue to support the old net neutrality rules and implement additional protections.

During Comcast’s merger with NBC-Universal, it agreed to follow the old net neutrality rules until 2018 in order for the deal to go through. But that isn’t enough for Leahy, who looks at the old net neutrality rules as a “minimum level of protection to promote competition online” and is insistent that more protections be put in place that would go beyond 2018.

“If the Internet is to remain an open, accessible platform for the free flow of ideas, we need strong rules of the road in place to guarantee those protections,” Leahy states in his letter to Comcast. Back in June, Leahy and fellow Democrat Doris Masui proposed a bill that would block internet fast lanes and mandate net neutrality.

While Cohen wrote a blog post back in May talking about Comcast’s “commitment to openness of the internet,” many are skeptical of the company’s dedication. Critics have been highly vocal against Comcast and its plan to acquire Time Warner Cable, which has led Comcast to accuse some critics of “extortionate demands.”

Leahy concluded his letter by asking Comcast for a pledge which states, “As the antitrust regulators continue to evaluate Comcast’s proposed transaction with Time Warner Cable, and regardless of whether it is approved, I ask Comcast to pledge that it will not engage in 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.”