States propose bills to preserve net neutrality

The next stage in the battle over regulating the internet could take the form of a legal showdown between states and ...

Posted: Jan 6, 2018 3:32 PM
Updated: Jan 6, 2018 3:32 PM

The next stage in the battle over regulating the internet could take the form of a legal showdown between states and the federal government.

A growing number of Democratic state legislators are proposing bills to preserve net neutrality rules within their borders, following the Republican-led Federal Communications Commission's vote to repeal the protections last month.

Lawmakers in states like New York, Washington and Massachusetts have proposed bills in recent weeks to enforce the principles of net neutrality, which are intended to keep the internet open.

This week, California legislators followed suit by proposing two separate bills to establish net neutrality protections.

"We won't let the Trump-led FCC dismantle our right to a free and open internet," Senator Scott Wiener, a Democrat representing San Francisco, said in a statement introducing one of the bills. "We won't let them create a system where internet providers can favor web sites and services based on who pays more money."

Related: The end of net neutrality: What it all means

The net neutrality rules, first approved by the FCC in 2015, require internet service providers like Comcast and Verizon to treat all online content the same. Providers are barred from deliberately speeding up or slowing down traffic from specific websites, and from putting their own content at an advantage over rivals.

The FCC's decision to overturn these protections has been championed by the telecom industry, but widely criticized by technology companies and consumer advocacy groups.

Given the broad disapproval for the repeal, particularly in blue states, lawmakers may find traction with the bills to preserve net neutrality. If successful, however, this local legislation could hit a legal wall.

A spokeswoman for the FCC directed CNNMoney to a section of the final order for net neutrality, in which the FCC asserts authority to prevent states from pursuing laws inconsistent with the net neutrality repeal.

"We conclude that we should exercise our authority to preempt any state or local requirements that are inconsistent with the federal deregulatory approach we adopt today," according to the final order.

In the section, the FCC also stresses that the burden placed on internet service providers by forcing them to "comply with a patchwork of separate and potentially conflicting requirements" across the country.

Jim Speta, a law professor at Northwestern, says U.S. courts have previously upheld the FCC's ability to preempt state regulations concerning the telecommunications market. These rulings "do provide a basis for the FCC's action to preempt state and local net neutrality," he told CNNMoney.

Even before the recent wave of bill proposals, states appeared to be on a collision course with the federal government on this issue.

The attorneys general of several states, including New York, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and Minnesota, have announced their intention to sue to challenge the FCC's net neutrality repeal.

More than a dozen attorneys general had previously called for the FCC to delay the vote, citing concerns about fraudulent comments filed with the FCC as part of a public feedback period about the proposed net neutrality rollback.

The states will receive some tech support, too. The Internet Association, a trade group representing internet companies like Facebook, Google and Amazon, said Thursday it intended to join the upcoming legal fight to preserve net neutrality.

"Either on the appeal from this order or in a suit directly challenging a state or local law establishing net neutrality," Speta says "I think it a certainty that the courts will be asked to decide the question."

There is still time, however. An FCC official told CNNMoney in December that it could take up to "several months" for the net neutrality repeal to be formally approved by the Office of Management and Budget. Until then, the old rules remain in place.

West Lafayette
Overcast
66° wxIcon
Hi: 74° Lo: 50°
Feels Like: 66°
Kokomo
Clear
61° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 49°
Feels Like: 61°
Rensselaer
Scattered Clouds
59° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 59°
Fowler
Scattered Clouds
59° wxIcon
Hi: 71° Lo: 50°
Feels Like: 59°
Williamsport
Overcast
66° wxIcon
Hi: 74° Lo: 50°
Feels Like: 66°
Crawfordsville
Overcast
60° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 50°
Feels Like: 60°
Frankfort
Overcast
64° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 49°
Feels Like: 64°
Delphi
Broken Clouds
62° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 49°
Feels Like: 62°
Monticello
Broken Clouds
62° wxIcon
Hi: 71° Lo: 48°
Feels Like: 62°
Logansport
Overcast
61° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 48°
Feels Like: 61°
Dry Conditions To Continue
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 67857

Reported Deaths: 2975
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion14710719
Lake7037269
Elkhart458276
Allen3611157
St. Joseph311479
Hamilton2489104
Cass17509
Hendricks1742105
Vanderburgh170012
Johnson1648118
Porter117439
Tippecanoe109411
Clark107545
Madison84265
LaPorte82929
Kosciusko81612
Howard80464
Marshall74222
Bartholomew73847
Floyd68444
Monroe68430
Noble63528
Delaware63352
Boone63246
Dubois62412
Hancock61637
Jackson5514
LaGrange54210
Shelby50926
Warrick50230
Grant49629
Vigo46810
Dearborn46128
Morgan41832
Henry36118
Clinton3523
White34510
Montgomery33821
Lawrence32627
Wayne3159
Decatur31332
Harrison28922
Miami2582
Scott24710
Daviess24319
Greene23834
DeKalb2214
Putnam2218
Jennings20712
Franklin20510
Jasper2032
Steuben1993
Gibson1984
Ripley1887
Perry17112
Starke1647
Orange16324
Wabash1583
Posey1570
Fayette1547
Jefferson1492
Whitley1486
Fulton1442
Carroll1422
Wells1312
Knox1290
Huntington1183
Washington1151
Spencer1133
Newton10910
Tipton1065
Randolph1024
Clay975
Jay820
Adams812
Rush794
Owen781
Sullivan751
Pulaski711
Brown701
Fountain632
Benton600
Blackford532
Ohio504
Parke451
Pike450
Switzerland430
Crawford420
Martin420
Vermillion380
Union320
Warren191
Unassigned0200

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events