- Lawmakers in Oregon are attempting to pass legislation that would circumvent FCC rules on Net Neutrality.
- Oregon joins several other states that are trying to pass legislation or executive orders to keep Net Neutrality going.
- With Net Neutrality officially ending in April, the clock is ticking to enact viable solutions.
Although the Federal Communications Commission voted to repeal Net Neutrality in December, that hasn’t stopped individual states from attempting to bring some degree of neutrality to their own districts. Oregon is the latest state to introduce legislation that circumvents the FCC, without technically contradicting its rules.
Oregon’s proposal seeks to make it illegal for state agencies to sign internet service contracts with companies that don’t abide by net neutrality practices. In other words, a state government operation like a public school or courthouse would have its choices of internet service providers limited to companies with neutral practices.
Iowa, Maryland, Kansas, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Wisconsin are other states going the legislative route to combat the FCC’s repeal of Obama-era Net Neutrality regulations. Meanwhile, governors in Montana, New York, New Jersey, Hawaii, and Vermont, have issued executive orders with similar demands.
Regardless of the method, states are sending a clear message to Ajit Pai and the FCC: we want Net Neutrality and will enforce it ourselves if we have to.
Granted, even with these proposed pieces of legislation and executive orders, ISPs could still violate Net Neutrality principles in all 50 states. These decrees would merely cut into those ISP’s wallets as the companies would be limited exclusively to the private sector for customers in those states. Lawmakers are hoping such a limitation will be enough of a threat to keep ISPs in line.
Meanwhile, the fight isn’t over on the federal level, either. State attorneys general throughout the U.S. signed off on a lawsuit challenging the FCC order. However, by the time the suit gets to court, the FCC will likely have stopped enforcing net neutrality rules, making a victory incredibly tricky.
The rules governing Net Neutrality officially end sometime in late April.