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Udall: No Internet Toll Road

Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) has told the FCC that allowing "toll lanes" on the Internet could "drastically change it," and not for the good.

"I urge the FCC to use its authority to preserve standards that allow the Web to continue to be a platform for free expression, to promote innovation, and help online entrepreneurs compete on a level playing field with established companies," he said in a statement in advance of the FCC's May 15 vote on proposed new Open Internet rules.

Udall was a sponsor of legislation proposed last year to restore the old Open Internet rules after a D.C. Federal Court invalidated the no-blocking and no unreasonable discrimination rules.

"I'm working in the Senate to encourage investments in broadband infrastructure so that people living in rural New Mexico are not stuck in an Internet 'slow lane.' But allowing new 'toll lanes' on the Web could drastically change the Internet as we know it," he said. He also said he had heard from hundreds of constituents who want the Internet to be an open, fair forum.

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has taken flak for a proposal to allow commercially reasonable discrimination. But he argues that he, too, is trying to restore the old rules, but in a way that the court itself indicated would allow them to pass muster.

Wheeler has also said that the case-by-case approach to deciding whether something was commercially reasonable would allow the FCC to prevent the bifurcation of the net into fast and slow lanes, something he said was not going to happen.