net neutrality
net neutrality

There is still a big question mark around net neutrality. The FCC put rules in place in an effort to repeal the Obama-era net neutrality rules. But many states are taking matters into their own hands. A new bill aimed at protecting net neutrality in Colorado is on its way to being signed into law. Colorado Governor Jared Polis is expected to sign Senate Bill 78, after it passed in the Colorado House this past week. The bill was introduced earlier this year, by state Democrats and would protect an open and equal internet. This would require ISPs to be accountable for the money that they receive from taxpayers for broadband expansion intiatives within that particulr region.

As you can imagine, the bill would prevent ISPs from throttling, establishing network “fast lanes” or blocking otherwise legal content, services or apps. It would also require that ISPs be transparent about their network practices, all of which are standard net neutrality practices. That said, if providers are found to be engaging in any of these practices, they could actually be forced to repay whatever money that they received from the state for rural broadband initiatives. Rural broadband initiatives is a big deal right now, so that could be a significant amount of money. It also makes sense that if the state is going to give you money to help run your business, you need to abide by those rules.

Colorado is just one state who is looking to put supports in place in order to undo the mess put in place by the FCC back in 2017. What’s interesting about this bill is that it has the opportunity to set a benchmark for state-level net neutrality rules. State Senator Kerry Donovan, one of the four Democrats sponsored the bill said that issues faced by bills in other states helped to inform Senate Bill 78, adding that it sought an “appropriate nexus of action”.

“This bill says that if you’re going to ask to be funded by the people in Colorado directly out of their paycheck then you need to adhere to these principles.”

Kerry Donovan, Colorado State Senator

As you probably remember, last month, Democrats in Congress introduced the Save the Internet Act in order to reinstate the Obama-era net neutrality protections for an open and equal internet. This week, the House Energy and Commerce Committee advanced that bill on a 30-22 vote, and it will now move to the House floor.

“The overwhelming majority of voters from across the political spectrum want Congress to do their jobs and restore these basic protections that never should have been taken away in the first place. The Save the Internet Act would do exactly that, and any lawmaker who doesn’t want to invoke the wrath of their constituents should vote for its clean passage on the House floor.”

Evan Greer, Deputy Director of Digital Rights, Fight for the Future

Is this all for naught? We know that Donald Trump could veto whatever bill that comes across his desk. On one hand, I want to be defeatist and say that if nothing is going to change, why bother? But on the other hand, I think that this shows the will of the people. Ten maybe enough people will see who is stopping the bill’s passage, and that might be worth it in the end.

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