The state of Washington became the first state in the country to pass its own net neutrality protection on the heels of the rollbacks to the Obama-era protections. On Monday, Governor Jay Inslee signed the net neutrality law into effect from his office in Olympia. The bold move signaled the state’s commitment to protecting the freedom of the open internet.
In 2015, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) created a set of laws which prohibit communication companies from blocking internet content and applications, or throttling network speeds to the detriment of the consumer. On December 14, 2017, the FCC repealed these rules in a controversial move that caught the ire of many individual states. In January, 20 states vowed to fight the repeal at the state level in an effort to protect internet consumers. With the passing of House Bill 2282, Washington asserted itself as a leader in the fight to protect net neutrality. Following the controversial December reversal, 20 states and the District of Columbia sued the FCC and vowed to fight for net neutrality at the state level. Governor Inslee believes the House Bill will be a catalyst for more states to follow through with their own legislative action.
The new Washington law will take effect on June 6. In addition to the prohibitions laid on internet provider companies, the new law will also mandate transparency regarding information about network management practices, performance, and terms of agreement for consumers. The move was hailed as a victory for both internet consumers and small businesses. By creating a level playing field, net neutrality encourages new business growth by eliminating unfair practices by larger and more established corporations.