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.