Washington Government Approved First Net-Neutrality Regulation


The law comes about three months after the FCC voted to dismantle rules that ensured all traffic on the internet is treated equally and prevented broadband and wireless providers from blocking or slowing online content. Gov. Jay Inslee signed a bill that effectively means the Obama-era net neutrality rules seemingly favored by much of the public will remain in force in the state.

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

The FCC scrapped the Obama-era rules in December, saying its decision heralded "the light-touch regulatory scheme that enabled the internet to develop and thrive for almost two decades".

CenturyLink received $332 million in federal subsidies under the FCC's Connect America Fund, which aims to provide high-speed internet to mostly rural areas. Bird stated that, "As more of our economic opportunities such as education, health care, banking, job functions, media viewing and relationships thrive online, the more important it is to preserve consumer choice".

Washington is one of them, and it just became the first state to pass its own net neutrality law.

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Internet companies Etsy, Expa, Kickstarter, Automattic, Foursquare, and Shutterstock - all members of a pro-net neutrality group called Coalition for Internet Openness - filed a lawsuit yesterday directly challenging the FCC's decision to roll back net neutrality. "That's a great place for the state of Washington". 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. The FCC's net neutrality repeal, however, isn't exactly a federal law, but a regulation from a federal agency.

"The fight for net neutrality is the fight for civil liberties, and a more vibrant culture", Candace Martin, commercial counsel at Kickstarter, said in a statement.

Given the Trump FCC's dunderhead move to gut U.S.net neutrality rules, it's interesting to see what the states are doing to counter that environment.

Washington's bill garnered bipartisan support-it passed with a vote of 93-5 in the state House, and 35-14 in the Senate. Net neutrality protects free speech (even speech you don't agree with), something you'd think the folks at the NRA would be able to appreciate. The repeal, published last week, won't take effect for at least two more months.