Washington Governor Signs Net Neutrality Bill Into Law

Paul Tong  Op-Art

Paul Tong Op-Art

Governors in five states - Hawaii, New Jersey, New York, Montana and Vermont - have signed executive orders related to net-neutrality issues, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. "We've seen the power of an open internet".

"This is a ideal example of why you need states' assistance when you've had the federal government walk off the job and go to the donut shop", Inslee said.

Washington has become the first state to enact its own net-neutrality requirements after USA regulators repealed Obama-era rules created to keep the internet an even playing field.

The decision in Washington means that internet service providers may have to have a different set of policies there compared to other states that they operate in. The dismantling of the nationwide rules, approved by the Federal Communications Commission previous year, set off a fierce outcry from consumers and tech companies.

Because the FCC prohibited state laws from contradicting its decision, opponents of the Washington law have said it would lead to lawsuits.

The new law, which goes into effect in June, into effect by June 6, prohibits Internet service providers from blocking legal content and slowing down a website's speed unless the content provider pays a higher service price.

Under the 2015 rules, no internet service provider (ISP) could discriminate against any online content to favor another, for example, by throttling or speeding up traffic. It also bans the throttling of certain Internet traffic-something providers have in the past done with Internet voice services-along with paid prioritization.

Last month, the Oregon House of Representatives passed a bill requiring state and local government to acquire only broadband access from companies complying with Net-neutrality standards.

Providers are also required to disclose information about their performance and network management practices.

At least 20 other states are considering similar legislation.

This makes Washington State the first one to defy the FCC's net neutrality repeal crusade, in open contradiction with the White House administration's efforts.

But Hansen believes that the FCC relinquished its authority over net neutrality rules by rescinding them nationally.

Inslee said Monday that he's not concerned about potential challenges to the bill.

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