On Monday Washington state governor signed the most sweeping state action so far against new federal rules that strip Net Neutrality regulations that require internet be treated as a utility. The laws out in place will block internet service providers from being able to slowdowns or block content you see on the internet.
Washington States law goes further by immediately putting back into place consumer protections provided by the 2015 federal rules. The law passed with broad bipartisan support in the state legislature.
Mr. Inslee said in an interview:
“At the core of our action today is consumer protection, States need to act because under the Trump administration, we have seen citizens, including seven million in Washington, stripped of core protections like the open internet.”
The dismantling of the nationwide Net Neutrality rules, approved by the Federal Communications Commission last year, set off an outcry from consumers and tech companies.
Opponents of the change in the federal regulations fear that without strong rules, internet service providers will create faster and slower lanes online to extract fees for better service. The F.C.C. said it got rid of the rules because they restrained broadband providers like Verizon and Comcast from experimenting with new business models and investing in new technologies.
Strangely enough the head of the FCC is a former employee of Verizon and has been accused of repealing regulations to benefit them. Ajit Pai, the FCC chairmen, is also under investigation for rules he repealed which allowed the Sinclair-Tribune merger to go through.
The Washington State law goes into effect June 6 and bars internet service providers from blocking websites or charging more for faster delivery of certain sites in a way that benefits the broadband company and partner websites.
The new law is one of several efforts to counter the F.C.C. change. Lawmakers in about two dozen states have introduced bills similar to Washington’s. And multiple governors, including in New York and Montana, have signed executive actions that prohibit internet service providers with state contracts from blocking or slowing data on their lines.
Several lawsuits against the F.C.C. have also been filed, including by consumer groups and numerous state attorneys general. On Monday, another suit was announced by tech companies such as Etsy, Foursquare and Kickstarter.
Internet service providers could also sue Washington State to overturn its rules. The companies could also sue states whose governors have signed executive orders demanding net neutrality.