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New York State Lawmakers are Crafting Their Own Net Neutrality Rules

January 25, 2018

In mid-December, the Federal Communications Commission made a decision to repeal the net neutrality rules set in place in 2015 by the Obama administration.  The laws were originally set in place to regulate internet service providers (ISPs) by categorizing internet access as a “utility.”  By this definition, the internet was viewed as a fundamental need, where websites big and small were treated the same regardless of content or relationship with any particular ISP. After the 2017 decision, that is no longer the case. The FCC has now taken on a “light-touch framework” that will deregulate oversight of ISPs, allowing them to create slow and fast lanes for different websites and services based on price point.

New York State Pushback

On Jan. 24, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order openly disregarding the FCC’s recent decision.  The state order requires state officials to only do business with broadband companies that are still embracing net neutrality. Companies like AT&T, Spectrum, and Verizon Business Network Services are just some of the providers who are customers of the state.

This decision was only one of the ways state lawmakers are fighting in Washington.

“Earlier this month, more than 20 states and the District of Columbia sued the FCC over its decision. State lawmakers in California, Washington, and New York have also discussed legislation that seeks to weaken the impact of the FCC decision.” –Defying the FCC, New York’s governor has signed an executive order on net neutrality, Brian Fung, The Washington Post.

The ongoing battle over the future of net neutrality should intensify as other states start to respond to this public policy.