Report: Republicans propose new net neutrality alternative to prevent 'paid prioritization'

Republican Congressional leaders are proposing a new plan that could prevent service providers from giving priority for some websites over others, reports The Washington Post, citing unnamed industry officials close to the plans.

At this point, details of the proposed bill are still being put together. However, the legislation is designed to end the debate over the FCC's right to oversee and regulate net neutrality rules.

A number of industry officials are discussing details of the proposed plans with various Republican members of Congress, but they would not reveal who those leaders were. In addition, the proposal has the support of a number of major service providers.

Part of the proposal would create a method for the FCC to regulate broadband providers by developing what is called "Title X," a special element of the Communications Act.

Title X would include parts of the net neutrality principles that President Barack Obama asked the FCC to consider during a taped statement in November. Under this plan, the FCC would have the authority to prevent service providers from blocking or slowing down consumer traffic to a specific website like Netflix or carving out special deals to give them a so-called "fast lane" for their subscriber traffic.

However, in order to implement Title X, the FCC would have to agree to not reclassify service providers under the Title II element of the Communications Act, one that has been opposed by AT&T (NYSE: T) and Verizon (NYSE: VZ).

Verizon recently told the FCC in a filing that it has the authority today to prevent blocking and throttling of consumer's bandwidth connections without having to reclassify service providers under Title II regulation.

None of the FCC officials responded to The Washington Post when asked to comment on this issue.

Meanwhile, a group of Democrats, led by Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.), sent a letter to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler asking him to move quickly to put the new neutrality rules in place.

"We urge you to act without delay to finalize rules that keep the Internet free and open for business," they wrote in the letter.

For more:
- The Washington Post has this article
- see this letter (.pdf)

Related articles:
Verizon says net neutrality should not touch interconnection arrangements
Verizon tells FCC to address blocking and paid prioritization without Title II reclassification
Verizon's Shammo clarifies remarks about net neutrality impact on company's investment strategy
Verizon's Shammo: If net neutrality passes, it will create a litigious environment