May 21, 2018

NJ governor signs executive order for state net neutrality

07 February 2018, 12:51 | Rufus Hill

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy

On Monday, Murphy signed an executive order requiring all internet service providers (ISPs) doing business with the state to abide by the principles of net neutrality which the governor's office said was "a critical step in securing a free and open internet for state residents".

House lawmakers also asked the Governor to issue an immediate Executive Order protecting net neutrality in Hawaii and provided suggested language from recent orders coming out of Montana and NY. That lawsuit was filed by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman in December. On Monday, he signed an executive order for the state to follow net neutrality rules.

Without net neutrality, ISPs would be allowed to charge customers or businesses for access to "fast lanes", a premium cost for faster speeds.

Gurbir Grewal the Attorney General of New Jersey said the state was committed to taking the necessary legal action it can to maintain the internet rights of consumers in New Jersey, and challenge the misguided attack of the federal government on an open and free internet. Although the regulations requiring net neutrality have only been in effect since 2015, net neutrality was the position of the federal government for more than a decade. "If the FCC has its way, ISPs will be able to play favorites on the internet, deciding which consumers can have access to what content and features ... deciding, essentially, what consumers can do, say and view online". The statement added that it does not give certain individuals or companies the right to pay to get to the front of the internet line. "While New Jersey cannot unilaterally regulate net neutrality back into law or cement it as a state regulation, we can exercise our power as a consumer to make our preferences known".

The end of net neutrality gives rise to legitimate concerns. It also alleges that the federal repeal of net neutrality involves a "sweeping" and unlawful preemption of state and local laws. But it's not yet clear whether any part of the FCC's recent decision - including the prohibition on state rules - will hold up in court.

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