Leahy asks Comcast to permanently get rid of fast lanes

The head of the Senate Judiciary Committee has asked Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA) to permanently ban Internet fast lanes, putting further pressure on the conglomerate as it tries to get its increasingly controversial purchase of Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC) through regulatory processes.

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) sent a letter to Comcast executive VP David L. Cohen Monday, urging the company to ban the practice of carving special interconnection deals with companies like Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX).

"Allowing the Internet to become a two-tiered system of 'haves' and 'have-nots,' controlled by a small number of corporate gatekeepers, would destroy everything that has made it one of the greatest innovations in human history," Leahy wrote.

Leahy's letter comes as Comcast not only has its $45 million proposed purchase of TWC to worry about, but also the Federal Communications Commission's ongoing reshaping of net neutrality law. The FCC is currently under pressure to ban interconnection deals.

As a condition of Comcast's 2010 purchase of NBC Universal, the company agreed to abide by the FCC's original net neutrality rules through 2018. In his letter Monday, Leahy said the FCC rules "should be viewed as a minimum level of protection to promote competition online, and Comcast's commitment to those principles should extend well beyond the imminent cut-off date of 2018."

For more:
- read this report from The Hill

Related links:
Comcast-TWC stock price differential swells as regulatory worries set in
Comcast shareholders approve TWC purchase by 99 percent-plus margin
FCC stops 'shot clock' on Comcast-TWC review to consider more comments
Comcast says merger foes guided by self-interest, not consumer benefit
When Cohen attacks: Comcast exec lays into merger critics at commentary deadline
Comcast-TWC input period ends: 64K comments received, 65 groups urge rejection

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