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Montana Governor Takes First Steps To Protect State Net Neutrality

In the wake of the FCC’s repeal of Title II classification for ISPs, states are beginning to look to themselves to preserve net neutrality. Earlier, we reported that 22 states had signed on to a petition to appeal the FCC’s decision. Now, the Governor of Montana has taken the first steps to help preserve net neutrality in his state.

Governor Bullock signed an executive order that added abiding to net neutrality as one of the requirements of receiving state contracts. Of course this doesn’t force ISPs to treat the data of Montana residents differently, but it is an incentive for them to remain net neutral to preserve government contracting opportunities.

The executive order notably sets the terms on which the State of Montana will be making purchases and makes a preference for a free and open internet clear. The State of Montana is a significant purchaser of internet services.

Governor Bullock knows that his action, or even his method, alone will not be enough. His hope is that Montana’s action will be a framework for other states to follow on. The more states that do so, the larger the pressure there will be on ISPs.

“This is a simple step states can take to preserve and protect net neutrality. We can’t wait for folks in Washington DC to come to their senses and reinstate these rules.”

Even then, the method of pressuring ISPs through government contracting, is just the beginning. Building a big enough network of states to collaborate on preserving net neutrality, through whatever methods, is the ultimate goal.

  • velocityg4
    Doesn't seem like something ISPs will be quaking in their boots over. Don't government buildings normally get served by different ISP than residential. Such as Metro Ethernet and other commercial grade services.

    Now if they sign a bill ending government granted monopolies over cities. That might get their attention. Although Montana has a pretty low population. So, they wouldn't care too much.
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  • mihen
    I thought one of the prohibitive elements for new ISPs is that many municipal governments have them provide service for local libraries and schools. I imagine it would be better not to have those contracts in the first place.
    Also Government services are generally filtered(not neutral) to prevent unlawful access.
    Reply
  • michaelahess
    20624116 said:
    Doesn't seem like something ISPs will be quaking in their boots over. Don't government buildings normally get served by different ISP than residential. Such as Metro Ethernet and other commercial grade services.

    Now if they sign a bill ending government granted monopolies over cities. That might get their attention. Although Montana has a pretty low population. So, they wouldn't care too much.

    Same ISP's, different services. I know as I designed them, in Montana, among many other states. This is a good thing...
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  • michaelahess
    @mihen all contracts are good to have, just talk to any sales guy ;)

    Also, the ISP doesn't limit or filter, the customer (ie the government office, school, etc) does that part. And that has nothing to do with net neutrality.
    Reply
  • randomizer
    Now we wait for the lawsuit from the ISPs.
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  • husker
    Facebook was developed, evolved and is free to use. All social media for that matter. Tom's is free to visit and comment on. Google searches? Free. Gmail? Free. Sending any email over this magical thing called the internet? Free. So many, many, many other examples of what the internet gave us that no one can event begin to list them all. Somehow all this came to be without this "Net Neutrality" thing that just came into existence a couple of years ago as a money power grab for governments.
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  • grimfox
    20626798 said:
    Facebook was developed, evolved and is free to use. All social media for that matter. Tom's is free to visit and comment on. Google searches? Free. Gmail? Free. Sending any email over this magical thing called the internet? Free. So many, many, many other examples of what the internet gave us that no one can event begin to list them all. Somehow all this came to be without this "Net Neutrality" thing that just came into existence a couple of years ago as a money power grab for governments.

    Right, but that was before we saw the signs of ISPs beginning to treat that traffic differently.

    We shouldn't need a law to tell ISPs to treat youtube and this other upstart video network fairly, but the ISPs have proven, above all things, that they can not be trusted to treat anything fairly. The FCC made "be fair" a requirement. The ISPs fought it tooth and nail. Why would a good honest company fight "be fair?" We know that ISPs are not good and honest. Year after year they come in ranked at the bottom of customer satisfaction ratings. All net neutrality says is to be fair, like you were before you realized there was money to be made by throttling and blocking and generally holding hostage "customers" trapped on a monopolistic network.
    Reply
  • toadhammer
    20626798 said:
    Facebook was developed, evolved and is free to use. All social media for that matter. Tom's is free to visit and comment on. Google searches? Free. Gmail? Free. Sending any email over this magical thing called the internet? Free. So many, many, many other examples of what the internet gave us that no one can event begin to list them all. Somehow all this came to be without this "Net Neutrality" thing that just came into existence a couple of years ago as a money power grab for governments.

    Actually, neutrality was the default from the very beginning when the internet was nothing but interconnected universities and research institutions. As grimfox said, no one even thought twice about this until some ISP realized they could make an extra buck by screwing someone else. Perfectly reasonable capitalism, but it goes against the deliberate intent that has existed from day one to keep the internet a level playing field.
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  • toadhammer
    And let me point out what net neutrality really means in this context. You pay your ISP for a pipe to connect you to the internet. It shouldn't matter what path the individual packets take, nor should it matter what is in those packets. None of them should cost you more or less. The same is true for Facebook. They pay their provider for a pipe. No individual packet should cost them more or less based on content or destination.
    Reply