Montana Leads US Fight For Net Neutrality

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In December the FCC voted to overturn its 2015 rules that had guaranteed what is known as net neutrality.

Governor Steve Bullock signed an executive order to protect net neutrality in Montana by requiring that successful recipients of state contracts adhere to internet neutrality principles. The new rules will enable big internet service providers to manipulate access, speed and content according to their own business priorities. Furthermore, the FCC has included language that would allow a lack of federal regulation to overrule any state regulation, although the legality of that provision is questionable. New York, Rhode Island, California, Massachusetts, Nebraska, Washington, New Jersey and SC have introduced legislation largely counteracting the repeal, with Minnesota, Illinois, North Carolina and New Mexico legislators weighing or promising action in the near future.

"Many major landline and mobile broadband providers, including Charter, CenturyLink, AT&T and Verizon, hold government contracts in the state", The New York Times wrote today. If Montana gets a new governor - and Bullock will leave office in 2020 due to state term limits - that order can simply be reversed. "Together, we can save the open internet, and serve the internet-users we represent", reads the MEPs' letter to the US Congress.

"There has been a lot of talk around the country about how to respond to the recent decision", Bullock said in announcing his order before a group of computer science students in Helena.

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Aman said it was too soon to say if the broadband association would file a lawsuit over Bullock's order. States will likely challenge those rules, but many are also trying to work around them.

"What we're asking now is to make sure that, more than just statements, that they will commit to that", Gov. Bullock said.

"Back in the mid-2000s, Minnesota tried to regulate [Voice-over Internet Protocol] as telephone services pursuant to state law to regulate interstate telephone calls", Lyons said. "I think the agency acted in an arbitrary and capricious manner, and we're taking them to court to stop this action".

The FCC has yet to comment on the executive order. And last week, 21 state attorneys general and the District of Columbia sued the FCC in an attempt to block the repeal.