Kicking off the latest round of political squabbling over net neutrality, Congressional Democrats have revived a bill banning paid prioritization agreements between content providers and service providers.
Just a day after new members of Congress were seated, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Rep. Doris Matsui (D-Calif.) reintroduced The Online Competition and Consumer Choice Act.
The bill, which the two legislators initially introduced last year, "would help prevent the creation of a two-tiered Internet system, ensuring start-ups and entrepreneurs have access to the marketplace and ensuring consumers can access all content equally," according to a statement on Leahy's website.
The Democrats are getting ahead of the Republicans, who now hold majorities in both the House and Senate, and who are expected to introduce their own net neutrality legislation later this month.
The Republican bill would "likely give the FCC clearer, explicit authority to regulate net neutrality," according to The Washington Post. That provision could win over some Democrats, but the Republican bill would explicitly ban the agency from classifying Internet providers as Title II carriers. (See Congress, FCC Prep Net Neutrality, OTT Action.)
Meanwhile, the most conservative Republicans oppose any net neutrality regulation or legislation at all. And President Obama, who has veto power, supports both net neutrality and Title II. (See Obama Backs Net Neutrality, Stuns Industry.)
The FCC plans to vote on net neutrality next month.