Verizon to Leahy: No Plans for Paid Prioritization

Tells Sen. Leahy FCC Has Authority Under Sec. 706

"[N]o major broadband provider has ever implemented paid prioritization, most have disavowed any interest in doing so, and no one has even offered a clear business case for paid prioritization," Verizon has told a powerful senator seeking assurances ISPs won't engage in the practice, adding: "As we have said before, and affirm again here, Verizon has no plans to engage in paid prioritization of Internet traffic."

Verizon was responding to a letter Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), chairman of the powerful Senate Judiciary Committee, sent ISPs last month pressuring them to promise not to create Internet "fast lanes."

The "lane" issue caught fire after FCC chairman Tom Wheeler proposed a "commercially reasonable" standard for a new anti-unreasonable discrimination Open Internet rule, though he has repeatedly pointed out that was a way to craft an anti-discrimination rule that would pass court muster without imposing what ISPs have consistently signaled was the nuclear option of Title II reclassification.

Leahy sent letters to Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Charter, and AT&T as well, pressing them for "concrete commitments" not to enter into paid prioritization agreements. A spokesman for Leahy said they would not release them until they had all the responses. AT&T was expected to respond by week's end, while Comcast has already responded, but declined to provide a copy, defering to Leahy on the timing of its being made public.

Read more at B&C here.