Blackburn: Paid Prioritization Issue Will Get Deeper Dive

Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) says that Congress will have a thorough discussion about the role of paid prioritization in an open internet.

Blackburn, who chairs the powerful House Communications Subcommittee, was speaking Wednesday (March 21) to an American Cable Association Summit audience Wednesday (March 21) in Washington.

She put in a plug for her network neutrality legislation, the Open Internet Preservation Act, and also suggested that proponents of network neutrality could be on the same page as she is and just not know it.

She said she was talking to a millennial constituent who said they were all for net neutrality. Blackburn said she asked them what they meant by that and got the response: "If we don't have net neutrality people won't have access to the internet."

Blackburn said when she asked who had told them that, they said they had "read it on the internet."

Blackburn responded that that was an "absolute lie." Blackburn said she then explained that they both wanted the same thing, which was nobody telling them what they could get over the internet.

Of her bill, she said it was moving forward, both in the House and the Senate. The bill prevents blocking and throttling, which she told the ACA audience that "everybody agrees with."

It does not prevent paid prioritization, which is where it runs into major pushback from Democrats. On that issue, she suggested that the internet of things, healthcare, as well as content distribution, require that deeper dive to see where paid prioritization "fits into that."

"The issue deserves a more thorough discussion and we will have that discussion," she said. ACA President Matt Polka said ACA would be part of that discussion.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.