Washington state tries to keep net neutrality, but it's complicated

The U.S. state of Washington signed a law preventing internet service providers (ISPs) from blocking websites or charging companies for faster internet speeds. These are the main concerns of advocates, consumers, and tech companies following the decision by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to repeal “net neutrality” in December 2017. Net neutrality is based around the proposition that all lawful web traffic must be treated equally. 

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Washington’s law, which is due to go into effect on June 6, was signed by Governor Jay Inslee on Monday, (New York Times), after passing with a vote of 93 to 5 in the state House and 35 to 14 in the Senate (Wired).

Around half of U.S. states are considering similar bills, challenging the FCC ruling. These states are likely to face lawsuits from broadband providers (The Verge) on the grounds that the FCC decision banned states from trying to supersede or make their own net neutrality laws (NBC) but Cnet says it is unclear on how courts would rule.

However, even if courts rule in these states’ favor, it could be argued they are violating the U.S. Constitution, which prevents states from regulating commerce crossing state lines (Cnet). The FCC’s decision to repeal net neutrality goes into effect on April 23 (Federal register).

Governor Jay Inslee on Twitter

Today we make history: Washington will be the first state in the nation to preserve the open internet with our own #NetNeutrality law. The open internet lives on for Washingtonians. https://t.co/3wsmAycWLN

Discuss or suggest changes on TALK


See WikiTribune reporter Charles Turner’s explainer on How ending net neutrality could affect consumers and the Net.


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