Governor Steve Bullock today praised actions by the United States Senate to protect a free and open internet and reverse the Federal Communications Commission’s repeal of net neutrality rules. Following the FCC’s repeal, Bullock in January 2018 signed an executive order to protect net neutrality in Montana. The order requires that successful recipients of state contracts continue to adhere to internet neutrality principles.
“I’m glad the states have been able to talk some sense into politicians in Washington, D.C. and am pleased at the Senate’s step in the right direction today,” said Governor Bullock. “Now it’s up to the House to finish the job. A free and open internet is one of our society’s great equalizers and I will continue to fight for citizens’ access to it.”
Governor Bullock was the first governor in the country to implement action in the wake of the FCC’s decision to repeal net neutrality rules. Other governors, including the governors of New York, New Jersey, Vermont, Hawaii, and Rhode Island, joined him. State legislatures around the country are also considering similar legislation.
Standing alongside a group of computer science students at the same high school he attended growing up, Governor Bullock 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.”
“When the FCC repealed its net neutrality rules, it said consumers should choose. The State of Montana is one of the biggest consumers of internet services in our state. Today we’re making our choice clear: we want net neutrality,” Bullock said. “It’s good government, and our citizens who use online services rely on it.”
The order states that “the free and open exchange of information, secured by a free and open internet, has never been more essential to modern social, commercial and civic life,” and that “Montana citizens rely on a free and open internet to meet the world.”
The order directs that to receive a contract from the State of Montana for providing telecommunications services, the service provider must not block lawful content, throttle, impair or degrade lawful internet traffic on the basis of internet content, engage in paid prioritization, or unreasonably interfere or disadvantage the users’ ability to select, access, and use broadband internet access service.
Governor Bullock’s template remains available to governors and legislators across the country who wish to respond to the FCC’s move against net neutrality.