Despite FCC Vote, Several States Aim to Preserve Net Neutrality

Net neutrality

California and New York are among several states gearing up to challenge the Federal Communications Commission’s decision to end net neutrality.

Last month, the FCC voted 3-2 in favor of repealing 2015 rules that prevented internet service providers from charging extra for, or slowing access to particular content. It’s a big win for companies like AT&T, Verizon and Comcast that control much of the residential internet landscape.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai led the commission’s initiative to end the regulations, saying that they stifled innovation and competition.

California Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León has introduced SB 460, the Consumer Protection and Net Neutrality Act of 2018, aimed at prohibiting internet service providers from blocking, limiting or interfering with customers’ access to services, and giving the California Attorney General the power to enforce the rules.

“Without strong net neutrality rules, there’s nothing to stop the companies that already monopolize the internet from blocking websites or information altogether,” de León said during a press conference on Tuesday. “We cannot allow the profits and political interests of internet service providers to outweigh the public good.”

The Writers Guild of America West issued a statement regarding the California Senate’s hearing and vote to advance SB 460 on Thursday.

“State action is needed because an open internet is vital to the entertainment and tech industries that fuel our economy,” it said. “Net neutrality rules are necessary to protect Californians’ access to the online content and services of their choice, especially when almost 70 percent of the population has only one option for high-speed wired broadband. If Washington continues to turn its back on consumers and content creators, it’s up to California to take the lead.”

In New York, State Assemblymember Patricia Fahy has introduced a bill that would authorize the state’s Public Service Commission to monitor internet service providers and certify their compliance with “net neutrality principals.”

In a Twitter post, Fahy said a “free and open internet is critical for entrepreneurs, schools, nonprofits and consumers, and I’m proud to lead the charge in NYS!”

According to a New York Times report, bills aimed at preserving net neutrality have been introduced in Massachusetts, Nebraska, Rhode Island and Washington.

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