The network neutrality debate isn’t going away any time soon. New Jersey is the latest state to impose network neutrality rules.
Last December, the Federal Communications Commission headed up by republican Ajit Pai voted to repeal network neutrality. The move occurred, some say, at the behest of major American ISPs like Verizon. Indeed, the decision ran contrary to what many wanted. This includes Internet experts, the American public, and the FCC’s own internal staff. The move sent shockwaves around the world as many countries found themselves renewing commitments to a neutral Internet.
Part of the repeal involved language that barred states from creating their own network neutrality. The FCC says that this is because infrastructure crosses state lines and having different laws in different states would be cost prohibitive to ISPs. In response, it seems some states aren’t buying it. Last month, California tabled their own network neutrality laws in spite of the FCC making it illegal for states to do so. The move, as pointed out by Boing Boing, is joined by other states like Montana and New York.
Now, it seems a fourth state is tabling their own network neutrality laws: New Jersey. According to Arstechnica, the governor of New Jersey has signed an executive order demanding ISPs play by the rules of a neutral Internet. From the report:
The executive order says that New Jersey state agencies may only buy Internet service from ISPs that adhere to net neutrality principles. But the net neutrality protections will cover ordinary residents as well as government officials. That’s because the order says that “adherence to ‘net neutrality’ principles means that an ISP shall not [violate the rules] with respect to any consumers in New Jersey (including but not limited to State entities).”
ISPs doing business with the state would not be allowed to block or throttle lawful Internet traffic for any consumer in New Jersey. Paid prioritization will also be off-limits.
While ISPs would be allowed to block or throttle content in cases of “reasonable network management,” those situations must be disclosed to customers. More generally, each ISP subject to the order would have to provide consumers with “accurate information regarding the network and transport management practices (including cellular data and wireless broadband transport), and performance and commercial terms of its broadband Internet access services.”
The order will apply to ISPs that accept state contracts on or after July 1 of this year.
So while network neutrality may have slipped from the headlines somewhat since the lead up to and the ultimate vote at the FCC, the battle to protect the Internet in the US continues to rage on.