Net Neutrality 2021 Legislation

Heather Morton 1/20/2021

Net Neutrality sign and gavel

After the Federal Communications Commission's Restoring Internet Freedom Order and transparency rule amendments became effective June 11, 2018, overturning earlier requirements on net neutrality requirements on internet service providers, state legislators responded by introducing net neutrality legislation at the state level.

Net neutrality is the concept that all data traffic on a network should be treated indiscriminately, and internet service providers (ISPs) would be restricted from blocking, slowing down or speeding up the delivery of online content at their discretion. The current debate surrounding net neutrality is principally about how ISPs should be regulated and what role government should play in overseeing their network management practices.

The rule change places primary jurisdiction over internet service providers’ network management practices under the Federal Trade Commission and preempts states from enacting similar ISP network restrictions as found in the 2015 Open Internet Order.

Attorneys general from more than 20 states, nonprofits and internet groups filed suit against the FCC's Restoring Internet Freedom Order, arguing that the FCC action was arbitrary and capricious in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act. In October 2019, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia issued its ruling, upholding the 2018 order, with two exceptions. First, the court concluded that the FCC had not shown legal authority to issue its Preemption Directive, which would have barred states from imposing any rule or requirement that the Commission “repealed or decided to refrain from imposing” in the order or that is “more stringent” than the order. The court vacated that portion of the order. Second, the court remanded the order to the FCC on three discrete issues: (1) The order failed to examine the implications of its decisions for public safety; (2) the order does not sufficiently explain what reclassification will mean for regulation of pole attachments; and (3) the agency did not adequately address petitioners’ concerns about the effects of broadband reclassification on the Lifeline Program.

Seven states—California, Colorado, Maine, New Jersey, Oregon, Vermont and Washington—and Puerto Rico enacted legislation or adopted resolutions in previous legislative sessions. In a deal with the U.S. Department of Justice, California agreed to not enforce its net neutrality law until the lawsuit challenging the Federal Communications Commission's repeal of the federal regulations is resolved.

Nine states have introduced net neutrality legislation in the 2021 legislative session.

Separately, legislators have introduced measures that would restrict ISPs’ use of customer information and adopt privacy protections. For example, two states, Nevada and Minnesota prohibit disclosure of personally identifying information, but Minnesota also requires ISPs to get permission from subscribers before disclosing information about the subscribers' online surfing habits and internet sites visited.

The box allows you to conduct a full text search or type the state name.

 

Net Neutrality 2021 Legislation
State: Bill Number: Bill Summary:
Alabama None  
Alaska None  
Arizona None  
Arkansas None  
California None  
Colorado None  
Connecticut SB 4

Protects the economy and online learning from data breaches and limits on broadband usage.

Connecticut SB 70

Requires internet service providers to register and pay registration fees and to require the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority to apply net neutrality principles to internet service providers and enforce such principles with civil penalties.

Delaware None  
District of Columbia None  
Florida None  
Georgia None  
Guam None  
Hawaii None  
Idaho None  
Illinois None  
Indiana None  
Iowa None  
Kansas None  
Kentucky HB 129 Amends KRS 154.15-010 to create a definition for paid prioritization; creates a new section of Subchapter 15 of KRS Chapter 154 to require that KentuckyWired contracts between the Kentucky Communications Network Authority and public or private internet service providers contain certain provisions to ensure open and fair access to the network by customers.
Louisiana None  
Maine None  
Maryland None  
Massachusetts None  
Michigan None  
Minnesota None  
Mississippi None  
Missouri HB 193 This bill provides that broadband service providers shall publicly disclose information regarding network management practices, performance, and the commercial terms of its broadband internet access. Broadband service providers shall not block any broadband internet access, impair broadband internet access, engage in paid prioritization, or unreasonably disadvantage an end user's ability to select internet content or an edge provider's ability to provide internet content to end users. The Public Service Commission may only sanction paid prioritization if it will provide some significant public interest benefit and not impede the open access of the internet. The bill also authorizes the attorney general to enforce the provisions of the bill, with any resulting proceedings including a penalty of up to $5,000 for each violation, not to exceed $25,000 per day. Additionally, any individual violating the provisions of the bill shall be subject to all penalties, remedies, and procedures provided by merchandising practice laws.
Missouri HB 620

This bill specifies that it is unlawful for a fixed or mobile internet service provider to engage in certain specified activities or to offer or provide services other than broadband internet access that are delivered over the same last-mile connection as the broadband internet access under certain conditions. Nothing in the bill is to be construed to prohibit a fixed or mobile internet service provider from offering or providing services other than broadband internet access service that are delivered over the same last-mile connection as the broadband service. The provisions of this bill do not supersede any obligation or authorization a fixed or mobile internet service provider may have to address the needs of emergency communications or law enforcement, public safety, or national security authorities or prohibit reasonable efforts by a fixed or mobile internet service provider to address copyright infringement or other unlawful activity.

Montana None  
Nebraska None  
Nevada None  
New Hampshire None  
New Jersey AB 1512

Requires cable television companies to provide cable television service and broadband internet speed to all committed service areas before cable television companies allow paid prioritization of internet network traffic.

New Jersey AB 4217

Directs the Board of Public Utilities to prohibit internet service providers from installing broadband telecommunications infrastructure on certain poles or underground facilities unless internet service providers adhere to the principle of “net neutrality.”

New Jersey AB 4219
SB 1311

Prohibits awarding of public contracts to internet service providers, unless internet service providers adhere to principle of “net neutrality.”

New Jersey AR 20

Urges President and Congress of United States to restore “net neutrality” in federal law.

New Jersey SB 1180

Establishes “New Jersey Net Neutrality Act.”

New Mexico None  
New York AB 1239

Relates to state contracts being only with internet service providers compliant with net neutrality and establishes a revolving fund for the establishment of municipal internet service providers; appropriates $250 million therefor.

New York SB 46

Provides regulatory control of internet service providers by the public service commission, requires internet neutrality and relates to the placement of equipment on utility poles.

North Carolina None  
North Dakota None  
N. Mariana Islands Not available  
Ohio None  
Oklahoma None  
Oregon HB 2410

Prohibits public bodies from contracting with broadband internet access service providers that do not offer low income rate program that meets minimum standards established by Public Utility Commission by rule.

Pennsylvania None  
Puerto Rico None  
Rhode Island None  
South Carolina HB 3196

Retitles article 23, chapter 9, title 58, relating to government-owned communications service providers as "local government-owned communications service providers"; adds §58-9-2640 so as to prohibit certain practices by local agencies providing communications services, including broadband services, and to provide exceptions; amends §58-9-2600, relating to the purpose of article 23, chapter 9, title 58, so as to define the article's modified purpose; amends §58-9-2610, relating to definitions applicable to government-owned communications service providers, so as to make conforming changes and add certain definitions; amends §58-9-2620, relating to government-owned communications service providers' duties and restrictions; cost and rate computations; and accounting requirements, so as to, among other things, authorize local agencies, as defined in this act, to participate in telecommunications ventures in order to provide broadband services to unserved areas within the agencies' geographical or territorial boundaries; amends §58-9-2630, relating to tax collections and payments by government-owned communications service providers, so as to make conforming changes; amends §58-9-2650, relating to liability insurance rates, so as to make conforming changes; amends §58-9-3010, relating to definitions applicable to article 25, chapter 9, title 58, so as to make conforming changes to a cross reference; and repeals §§58-9-2660 and 58-9-2670 relating to petitions to designate unserved areas, and exemptions for government-owned communications service providers receiving funding for comprehensive community infrastructure projects.

South Carolina HB 3532

Adds article 25 to chapter 9, title 58 so as to enact the "South Carolina Net Neutrality Preservation Act", defines relevant terms, provides that a telecommunications or internet service provider engaged in the provision of broadband internet access service publicly shall disclose accurate information regarding the network management practices, performance, and commercial terms of its broadband internet access services sufficient for consumers to make informed choices regarding use of such services and for content, application, service, and device providers to develop, market, and maintain internet offerings, and prohibits certain practices by telecommunications or internet service providers engaged in the provision of broadband internet access service in South Carolina; provides that violations of this act are not reasonable in relation to the development and preservation of business and constitute an unfair or deceptive act in trade or commerce and an unfair method of competition for the purpose of applying the South Carolina consumer protection code; and provides that a public entity may not enter into a contract with a telecommunications or internet service provider engaged in the provision of broadband internet access service in South Carolina unless the contract includes a representation that the telecommunications or internet service provider is not currently engaged in, and an agreement that the telecommunications or internet service provider will not engage in, those practices prohibited by this act.

South Dakota None  
Tennessee None  
Texas HB 258

Relates to certain contracting requirements for the provision of broadband Internet access service to governmental entities.

Utah None  
Vermont None  
Virginia None  
U.S. Virgin Islands None  
Washington SB 5112

Requires any person providing broadband Internet access service to offer virtual private network service to users at no cost. Amends provisions regulating net neutrality.

West Virginia None  
Wisconsin None  
Wyoming None  

 

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Heather Morton is a program principal in Fiscal Affairs. She covers financial services, alcohol production and sales, and telecommunications issues for NCSL.

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