BURLINGTON (AP) - The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee is being told open access to the Internet is vital to the free flow of information both for ideas and commerce.

The comments were made Tuesday during a field hearing of the committee at the University of Vermont held by Vermont U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee.

Leahy is proposing a law that would require the Federal Communications Commission to ban so-called paid prioritization agreements between a broadband provider and a content provider.

Under the FCC's proposed rules released in May, Internet providers would be able to charge other companies for priority, high-speed access to their users.

Cabot Orton of the Vermont Country Store says open access to the Internet is the key to his company's success.