Colorado Net Neutrality Bill Heads To Governor's Desk For Signing

from the ill-communication dept

You can add Colorado to the growing list of states finalizing state-level net neutrality legislation. Colorado's new Senate Bill 78 would not only block ISPs from engaging in all the usual anti-competitive shenanigans (blocking or otherwise throttling a competing service), but it would also force ISPs to pay back state taxpayer-backed grants if they engage in said behaviors. After a last-second GOP attempt to add porn filters to the legislation failed, the bill passed the Colorado General Assembly last week and heads to the desk of Colorado Governor Jared Polis for signature.

Colorado legislators note the effort is just one of 120 bills and resolutions in 34 states (and DC) crafted on this subject since Ajit Pai's FCC voted to kill net neutrality in late 2017. The bills are a direct reflection of the strong bipartisan majority of Americans that support such protections.

As we've seen countless times before, telecom industry backed organizations like the AT&T-funded Colorado Competitive Council were quick to complain that such state-level efforts would only create regulatory confusion, and that enforcement of net neutrality should be left to the FTC:

"An open internet is a critical issue, and the federal government has been clear that it is in their purview. (Senate Bill 78) is unnecessary and would only add to a patchwork of regulations, confusing the regulatory certainty that exists in Colorado today,” said Nicholas J. Colglazier, director of Colorado Competitive Council, and who testified against the bill. “The Federal Trade Commission has authority to enforce the open internet practices of internet service providers, and has demonstrated its willingness to do so."

Local ISP CenturyLink also came out against the perils of a "patchwork" of state-level regulation on this subject:

"A patchwork of state-by-state regulations of the internet, which is what Colorado SB 78 calls for, is not the right approach for this important policy."

But again, the industry likes to ignore the fact that if they hadn't lobbied to kill modest FCC net neutrality rules, states wouldn't be pursuing this route in the first place. It's the telecom industry that's responsible for this "regulatory confusion," though they're the last ones apparently willing to own up to that fact. Meanwhile, the telecom lobby pushed hard to shift ISP oversight from the FCC to FTC specifically because they know the latter lacks the authority and resources to actually do so, another fact the telecom sector likes to tap dance around as the industry complains about the direct outcome of its own actions.

Filed Under: broadband, colorado, competition, net neutrality, state laws

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  1. icon
    Jonathan Bentz (profile), 8 Apr 2019 @ 1:38pm

    Something to watch

    As someone who lives in a state with challenges to simply having high speed access statewide, I guess I will watch this for an example of what we will be dealing with sometime between now and 2030?

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