Montana Leads US Fight For Net Neutrality

Jan 24, 2018, 12:08
Montana Leads US Fight For Net Neutrality

Schaake sent the letter to the FCC ahead of the watchdog's planned publication of official rules on net neutrality.

The executive order notably sets the terms on which the State of Montana will be making purchases and makes a preference for a free and open internet clear.

The new rule would affect any new or newly renewed contract inked after July 1 of this year.

Ernesto Falcon, a legislative counsel at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a nonprofit that advocates for digital rights, welcomed Bullock's measure.

But Bullock's advisors are confident that this method of regulating government contracts and not the providers directly provides a legal loophole to reinstate the spirit of net neutrality rules.

The FCC has pointed to the fact that as a part of the order, until the new changes have been entered into the federal registry there can be no legal action against the repeal, which may happen in the coming weeks.

That makes Montana the first state to successfully push back against last month's ruling of the Republican-led FCC, which essentially dismantled the rules adopted under the Obama administration in 2015.

"This is simple plug and play for other states to do as well", Bullock said. He says he's taking a wait and see approach to the executive order.

Opponents, however, argue that ISPs could use the opportunity to charge customers more for high-speed internet and restrict or slow access to information regarding competitors' products.

He said it marked a return "to a regulatory environment that allowed the Internet to thrive for decades by eliminating burdensome Title II regulations and opening the door for increased investment and digital innovation".

According to the Times, several trade groups said they were monitoring Bullock's order and were considering lawsuits.

The FCC did not respond to StateScoop's request for comment. This also extends to other service providers that work over the internet, such as subscription-based platforms and online service platforms like Netflix, WhatsApp, and other similar services.

Ferguson joined a coalition of 21 other states and the District of Columbia in filing a petition with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.

A group of 22 attorneys general, including Josh Shapiro of Pennsylvania and led by Eric Schneiderman of NY, sued in federal court Wednesday to overturn the FCC decision.

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