Oregon Joins Massachusetts, Others to Enshrine Net Neutrality Laws

Freezenet has learned of an additional two states proposing laws that would protect network neutrality at the state level.

We’ve been following the debate surrounding network neutrality in the US for a while now. On the legislative front, the number of states introducing network neutrality rules is still growing. Recently, we learned of Washington and Hawaii introducing network neutrality lists. They join the list of other states including New York, Montana, California, and New Jersey.

All this is, of course, in staunch defiance of the FCC’s 3-2 vote to repeal network neutrality back in December. Part of the rules that are going to be established is the fact that the government cannot introduce network neutrality laws at the state level. So, ultimately, this is likely going to lead to a court challenge. No one really knows for sure how such a court challenge will go as state laws are running up against federal rule making.

Of course, keeping up with which state has introduced network neutrality is proving to be difficult. As it turns out, Massachusetts introduced network neutrality laws in December. From MassLive at the time:

In Massachusetts, state Sen. Barbara L’Italien, D-Andover, Senate chairwoman of the Joint Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure and a candidate for Congress, sponsored a bill to codify net neutrality. The bill was co-sponsored by freshman state Rep. Andy Vargas, D-Haverhill.

The bill would prohibit broadband internet providers from blocking, throttling or engaging in paid prioritization, often referred to as creating “fast lanes,” of lawful internet content.

“A free and open internet is the foundation of communication in our modern society,” L’Italien said in a statement. “The recent FCC rollback blocks free speech and access to opportunity.”

More recently, Oregon said it too is introducing legislation to protect network neutrality in their state as well. The Electronic Frontier Foundation is urging Oregon citizens to tell representatives to support the legislation:

It should not be surprising that arguably the biggest mistake in Internet policy history is going to invoke a vast political response. Since the FCC repealed federal Open Internet Order in December, many states have attempted to fill the void. With a new bill that reinstates net neutrality protections, Oregon is the latest state to step up.

Oregon’s Majority Leader Jennifer Williamson recently announced her intention to fight to restore much of what the FCC repealed last December under its so-called “Restoring Internet Freedom Order.” Her legislation, H.B. 4155, responds to the FCC’s decision by requiring that any ISP that receives funds from the state to adhere to net neutrality principles—not blocking or throttling content or prioritizing its own content over that of competitors, for example.

If you’re an Oregonian, tell your state representative to act to restore net neutrality.

Wikipedia is currently showing a list of other states that are either suing the FCC, introducing network neutrality laws, or both. In total, 28 states have introduced orders or legislation enshrining network neutrality into law.

What will be interesting to see is if other states introduce their own network neutrality laws. After all, now that so many states have taken the steps to take over where the FCC left off, you do have a sort of safety in numbers thing going. It certainly doesn’t take to much imagination to think that major US ISPs are unhappy with these developments over the last few months since the repeal.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Google+.


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