Net Neutrality — what is it, and why is it important? Simply, net neutrality is the principle that government should mandate Internet service providers to treat all data on the Internet all the same. Without Net Neutrality rules, companies like AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon can “call all the shots,” so to speak, and slow down their competitors’ content or block political opinions they disagree with. They can also charge extra fees to the few content companies that can afford to pay for preferential treatment. This means everyone else is relegated to a slower tier of service.
For the majority of the populace, a loss of net neutrality is not good. Essentially, it limits freedom of speech on the internet. Despite vehement outcry from the public, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) repealed its net neutrality rules just a handful of weeks ago. As a result, state legislators are passing legislation to keep Net Neutrality rules in their states.
Last Monday, Steve Bullock became the first U.S. governor to sign an executive order which states that any internet providers signed by the state are prohibited from impairing, degrading, throttling, or blocking internet traffic based on payment, content or prioritization.
Bullock explained his decision while standing with a group of computer science students at the very same high school he attended growing up. He said, “For as long as you, or I, or anyone in this room has used the internet, we’ve had certain expectations about how things work. We’ve had access to a free and open internet. But a free and open internet is no longer guaranteed. The loss of internet neutrality principles threatens the future of the students standing in this very room.”
“There has been a lot of talk around the country about how to respond to the recent decision by Federal Communications Commission to repeal net neutrality rules, which keep the internet free and open. It’s time to actually do something about it,” Bullock added. “This is a simple step states can take to preserve and protect net neutrality. We can’t wait for folks in Washington DC to come to their senses and reinstate these rules.”
As GoodNewsNetwork reports, Bullock inspired Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York to pass similar legislation in his own state. Said Cuomo in a statement: “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. With this executive order, we reaffirm our commitment to freedom and democracy and help ensure that the internet remains free and open to all.”
In addition to challenging other states and businesses to protect Net Neutrality, Bullock has offered to “personally email” them the template to keep the internet free and open.
I signed an executive order at my former high school to ensure the State of Montana will only do business with companies that adhere to #netneutrality and I’m inviting all other states to join me – if you want a copy, I’ll personally email it to you. pic.twitter.com/ZZSJ0ZrELp
— Steve Bullock (@GovernorBullock) January 22, 2018
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