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Washington sticks it to the FCC, passes its own net neutrality rules

07 March 2018

"We've seen the power of an open internet", Inslee said after signing the bill. But Washington became the first to put the practice into law in what was a bipartisan decision in the state legislature.

At least 25 other states are considering net neutrality bills, including California, Illinois, and NY.

The new law, which goes into effect in June, into effect by June 6, prohibits Internet service providers from blocking legal content and slowing down a website's speed unless the content provider pays a higher service price.

Washington State Governor Jay Inslee has teed up the States rights fight with Washington, D.C., Monday (March 5) signing what he billed proudly as the first state law imposing net neutrality "protections" in the wake of the FCC's 2015 Open Internet order rule rollback last December. Democratic lawmakers, consumer groups and other supporters of the Obama-era rules are also pushing for a Congressional Review Act measure to reinstate the old rules.

The repeal, supported by FCC Chairman Ajit Pai and the major cable and telecom companies and opposed by large and small tech Internet companies, garnered intense public interest.

Washington's elected officials are right to challenge the Federal Communications Commission's awful decision to rescind net-neutrality protections. If other states follow Washington's lead, ISPs in those states would also operate under different rules.

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ISPs have said they don't and won't block or throttle, but generally want the freedom to experiment with paid prioritization business models, though they have signaled that doesn't mean creating fast and slow "lanes". Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray are part of an effort to force a Senate vote on whether to override the FCC's net-neutrality reversal, which took effect on February 22.

It is in direct opposition to the Federal Communications Commission regulator, which has moved to roll back net neutrality.

Some states are passing their own laws.

Last month, the Oregon House of Representatives passed a bill requiring state and local government to only acquire broadband access from companies complying with net neutrality standards. And multiple governors, including in NY and Montana, have signed executive actions that prohibit internet service providers with state contracts from blocking or slowing data on their lines.

Senator Scott Wiener introduced the legislation in January, saying net neutrality "was essential to our 21st century democracy".

Washington sticks it to the FCC, passes its own net neutrality rules