On Tuesday, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Rep. Doris Matsui (D-CA) introduced legislation in their respective chambers of Congress that prohibits Internet service providers (ISPs) from giving “preferential treatment or priority to the traffic of an edge (or content) provider over the traffic of other edge providers for a fee.” In contrast to the FCC’s investigation into peering or interconnection arrangements that involve middle-mile transmissions between broadband network operators and web content providers, the bills target last-mile connections between ISPs and end users that are covered by the FCC’s recent net neutrality rulemaking proposal. Although the rulemaking notice seeks comment on a proposed standard that would allow ISPs to engage in “commercially reasonable” discrimination in transmitting web traffic, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler recently stated his belief that paid prioritization arrangements that result in the creation of Internet “fast lanes” would be commercially unreasonable. (The rulemaking notice also poses the question of whether paid prioritization should be banned outright.) Specifically, the bills would require the FCC “to adopt regulations that prohibit paid prioritization agreements between an ISP and an edge provider on the last mile Internet connection to the end user.” Residential customers, small businesses, schools, libraries and colleges are all defined as end users in the bills, which would also ban ISPs from prioritizing the transmission of “content, applications, services or devices provided or operated by the broadband provider itself, or are otherwise affiliated with the broadband provider.” In remarks to the press, Leahy and Matsui asserted that the bills are intended to “prevent the creation of a two-tiered Internet system, ensuring start-ups and entrepreneurs have access to the marketplace and ensuring consumers can access all content equally.” As Matsui maintained that “our country cannot afford ‘pay-for-play’ schemes,” Leahy declared: “Americans . . . want an Internet that is a platform for free expression and innovation, where the best ideas and services can reach consumers based on merit rather than based on a financial relationship with a broadband provider.”