Saturday, 22 September, 2018

Washington first state to pass net neutrality protections into law

Washington Governor Signs First State Net Neutrality Bill Despite FCC ruling, the fight to save net neutrality is by no means over
Camille Neal | 07 March, 2018, 00:29

"We've seen the power of an open internet", Inslee said during the bill signing ceremony.

Residents of Washington State are getting so-called net neutrality rules back, with the nation's first state law that prevents internet service providers from blocking and slowing down content online.

After last week's court decision, it seemed that there isn't much to be done about net neutrality, until Monday's move by the Washington State Gov. Jay Inslee.

Washington has become the first state to enact its own net-neutrality requirements after USA regulators repealed Obama-era rules created to keep the internet an even playing field. With federal authorities moving in the opposite direction, do states have any leeway to implement their own rules? The F.C.C. said it got rid of the rules because they restrained broadband providers like Verizon and Comcast from experimenting with new business models and investing in new technologies. Washington state's measure will take effect in mid-June. If other states follow Washington's lead, ISPs in those states would also operate under different rules.

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The law will prohibit companies that offer internet services from blocking legal content, applications, services or nonharmful devices.

Separately, 21 states, including Washington and OR, have filed a petition to appeal the FCC's action in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia in another attempt to block the repeal of the federal net neutrality rules. Internet providers will also be required to disclose information about their management practices, performance and commercial terms.

The new law will protect consumers and small businesses who might not be able to afford higher internet service fees possible under the FCC rules that large corporations could absorb, he said.

The state governments of New York, Montana, New Jersey, Vermont, California and Hawaii have sought to counteract the FCC deregulation with executive orders that set net neutrality principles for contracting of internet service, similar to Oregon's approach. "It's allowed the free flow of information and ideas in one of the greatest demonstrations of free speech in our history".

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