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WASHINGTON. DC 20510-0905

BILL NELSON

431

fLORIDA

April 30, 2014

The Honorable Tom Wheeler

Chairman

Federal Communications Commission

445 Twelfth Street, SW

Washington, DC 20554

Re:

GN Docket No. 14-28 -

Open Internet Notice of Proposed Rulemaking

Dear Chairman Wheeler:

I write today to express my concern over recent repmis that you may be stepping

back from an earlier commitment to implement rules and policies that ensure an open and

free Internet for all Americans.

It is my understanding that the Federal Communications Conunission (FCC) will

consider a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) in the Open Internet proceeding at

the May Agenda Meeting. In an April 24 blog post, you stated that this item will contain

certain basic elements of the 2010 Open Internet Order that was struck down by the

United States Comi of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (D.C. Circuit) earlier

this year. Specifically, you stated that the NPRM will prohibit providers from blocking

lawful content or engaging in "unreasonable discrimination" among users. These are

critical component of any framework to ensure an open and free Internet, and I am very

pleased to hear reports that they are included in the NPRM.

I am very concerned about reports that the NPRM will presumptively allow "paid

prioritization arrangements" as long as they are "commercially reasonable." These

agreements are often referred to by providers as "network management arrangements."

However, I believe the presumptive acceptance of such agreements in the regular course

of business could upset the basic concept of an open Internet and would be very difficult

to remedy at a later time.

Rather than serve as a "fast lane" for certain providers, they may ultimately serve

the reverse purpose of forcing those content providers who can afford it to pay for

"prioritization" in order to maintain a basic level of service. This, in turn, can only harm

the further development of itmovative new content and services that has characterized the

Internet since its inception.

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The Honorable Tom Wheeler

April 30, 2014

Page2

As you move forward on the NPRM, I urge you to reconsider your initial

conclusion that paid prioritization arrangements are generally "conunercially

reasonable." While I am cognizant of the need to meet the parameters detailed by the

D.C. Circuit, I believe the Commission can, and should, draw a brighter line on paid

prioritization agreements. As part of that analysis, I also urge the Commission to

carefully consider whether section 706 provides the best pathway for these rules or

whether Title II, with appropriate forbearance, provides a more sound approach.

Thank you in advance for your consideration of my views on this critical matter.

Working together, I am confident that we can maintain a free, open Internet.

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