Oregon Will Become the Second State to Pass a Net Neutrality Law on Monday

Oregon governor Kate Brown will sign net neutrality into law.

Oregon governor Kate Brown will sign net neutrality into law on Monday, April 9th.

Oregon governor Kate Brown has pledged to sign House Bill 4155 on Monday.  The signature will make Oregon the second U.S. state to pass a net neutrality law.

Oregon’s resistance to the FCC’s net neutrality rollback is about to become official.  Just this afternoon, Oregon governor Kate Brown scheduled a Monday date to sign House Bill 4155, passed last month by both Oregon legislative chambers.  The bill firmly establishes net neutrality as the law for ISPs, and expressly prohibits practices like paid prioritization, site throttling, and blocking of legitimate sites.

“In Oregon, we want to make sure that access to the internet is a level playing field, instead of exacerbating economic disparity,” Brown offered in a statement ahead of the signing.

According to the Oregonian, the signature will happen at the Mount Tabor Middle School in Portland.  Students at the school helped to raise awareness for the net neutrality initiative.

The signing represents another big setback for a contentious net neutrality rollback.  Earlier this year, Washington State quickly passed the nation’s first net neutrality law, setting the stage for a huge battle ahead.  Brown’s signature on Monday will firmly pit Oregon against the FCC’s decision to repeal net neutrality, and guarantee complications for ISPs like Comcast and Verizon.

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 “In Oregon, we want to make sure that access to the internet is a level playing field, instead of exacerbating economic disparity.”

 — Gov. Kate Brown.

Incidentally, Oregon’s law is actually less restrictive than Washington’s.  It doesn’t technically prohibit ISPs from repealing net neutrality provisions for residential and business accounts.  But any ISP implementing neutrality-unfriendly practices like ‘fast lanes’ and throttling will be banned from doing any business with Oregon state agencies.  So the end result may be the same.

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Meanwhile, California is preparing net neutrality legislation that will easily become the most stringent measure in the nation.  Just recently, the measure passed the California Senate with the consultation of legal experts from the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and Stanford Law School.  The FCC and major ISPs like Comcast, AT&T, and Verizon are fighting aggressively to outlaw state-based net neutrality laws.

The net neutrality resistance. Black = state law passed protecting net neutrality; Orange = Executive Order signed by state governor to protect net neutrality; Dark Gray = net neutrality bill successfully passed both state legislative chambers; Blue = net neutrality bill introduced into legislature; Brown = state attorney general filing suit against the FCC; Green = 100+ municipalities have approved taxpayer-funded ISPs; Red Star = mayor is a member of Mayors for Net Neutrality Coalition; Light Gray = no state action.

The net neutrality resistance. Black = state law passed protecting net neutrality; Orange = Executive Order signed by state governor to protect net neutrality; Dark Gray = net neutrality bill successfully passed both state legislative chambers; Blue = net neutrality bill introduced into legislature; Brown = state attorney general filing suit against the FCC; Green = 100+ municipalities have approved taxpayer-funded ISPs; Red Star = mayor is a member of Mayors for Net Neutrality Coalition; Light Gray = no state action.

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to state and municipal resistance.

In fact, a majority of U.S. states are fighting against the FCC’s net neutrality repeal, in one form or another.  Many, like Oregon, Washington, and California, and fighting with a mix of legislative and legal measures.  That includes lawsuits triggered by state attorneys general, as well as direct ‘Executive Orders’ from state governors.

In total, 36 U.S. states — representing nearly 70% of the country’s population — are fighting the repeal.

Cities are also fighting back.  Just recently, Los Angeles revealed plans to build a citywide broadband grid, one that would exclude private providers like Time Warner.  The move would be a devastating blow to those companies, but is largely viewed as retribution for aggressive attempts to buy legislative influence.

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Elsewhere in California, San Francisco is proceeding with a private-public partnership to provide citywide broadband access.  The initiatives would transform broadband into a public utility in two of America’s largest cities.

Other cities are already there, including Fort Collins, Colorado, and Chattanooga, Tennessee.  Both cities have successfully created their own municipal broadband grids, perhaps the start of a serious shift away from private ISPs.

 


 


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