Washington state enacts net-neutrality rules, opposing FCC

Washington becomes first state to pass net neutrality law after FCC repeal

Greg Nash

Gov. Jay Inslee has signed a measure making Washington the first state to set up its own net neutrality requirements in response to the Federal Communications Commission's recent repeal of Obama-era rules. It also bans the throttling of certain Internet traffic-something providers have in the past done with Internet voice services-along with paid prioritization. "States need to act because under the Trump administration, we have seen citizens, including seven million in Washington, stripped of core protections like the open internet".

"This is not a partisan issue", Republican representative Norma Smith, one of the bill's co-sponsors, said in an earlier statement.

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. "This is about preserving a fair and free internet so all Washingtonians can participate equally in the 21st century economy".

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.

Business leaders are divided on the change in rules.

Arguments seem to work for both sides in this debate.

Your internet service should be free of slow lanes and corporate favoritism if legislation just signed in Washington state and awaiting the governor's signature in OR works as intended.

Opposition of the FCC's repeal of net neutrality continues to grow as six more tech companies have joined the fight and filed suits. Furthermore, as WIRED previously pointed out, an argument can be made against the FCC for violating federal laws that prohibit agencies from setting up "arbitrary and capricious" regulations.

Main, who opposed the bill, added, "There should not be a state-by-state patchwork of differing laws and regulations". And states are stepping in where Ajit Pai's FCC refuses to tread.

With the publishing of the FCC's order in the Federal Register late last month, Congress has 60 days in which to pass a resolution of disapproval that would reverse the FCC action.

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