Despite the FCC repeal of net neutrality laws, two states have taken initiative and ruled to enforce net neutrality within their own jurisdiction. First Montana governor Steve Bullock and then, just days later, New York governor Andrew Cuomo signed executive orders that prevent ISPs from “obtaining state contracts unless they follow net neutrality principles.”
According to an article in Ars Technica, the states are directly challenging the FCC’s pre-emption of local laws. “Instead of directly requiring all ISPs to follow net neutrality principles, the executive orders require state agencies to only do business with ISPs that offer neutral networks,” the article explains. This means, in Montana and New York, ISPs would disqualify themselves from obtaining state contracts if they “block, throttle, or prioritize Internet content or applications or require that end users pay different or higher rates to access specific types of content or applications.”
New York’s order is a bit more thorough than Montana’s, in the sense that it includes a specific provision against charging users higher rates for access to specific content or applications.
Governor Cuomo gave his two cents about the issue in his public announcement of the executive order. “The FCC’s dangerous ruling goes against the core values of our democracy, and New York will do everything in our power to protect net neutrality and the free exchange of ideas.”
New York and Montana are among several states looking for creative strategies to combat the end of federal net neutrality. Legislation is pending in multiple states, and 22 attorneys general are actually suing the FCC to reverse its decision.