07/14/2014 11:43 am ET Updated Jul 14, 2014

Senate Candidate Gary Peters Pushes FCC On Net Neutrality

A U.S. Senate candidate in Michigan has called on the Federal Communications Commission to ensure that all Internet traffic is treated fairly.

In a letter to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler on Monday, U.S. Rep. Gary Peters (D-Mich.) expressed his "serious concerns" about an early-stage FCC plan that could let broadband providers charge websites for providing speedy access to ordinary customers. Paid prioritization is a major bugbear for supporters of net neutrality, the principal of treating all web traffic equally.

"If large corporations can pay more for faster service for their content, this effectively creates a 'slow lane' for everyone else," Peters wrote.

Peters suggested Wheeler consider reclassifying broadband providers as public utilities, a step that would prevent them from charging for extra access. But he stopped short of outright calling for the FCC to make that move, as Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) did last week.

Peters is leading Republican candidate Terri Lynn Land in the race to replace retiring Sen. Carl Levin (D). His letter comes days before the annual Netroots Nation conference of online progressive activists -- many of whom are fiercely opposed to paid prioritization -- begins in Detroit.

Tuesday is the last day of the first comment period for Wheeler's proposed rule about online access. Wheeler tweeted on Friday that the agency has received about 647,000 public comments so far, and a second round of commenting will end on September 10.

CORRECTION: A previously version of this article incorrectly stated the deadline for the first open internet comment period.


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