Net Neutrality 2021 Legislation

Heather Morton 5/4/2022

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its Preemption Directive, which would have barred states from imposing any rule or requirement that the Commission “repealed or decided to refrain from imposing” in the order or that is “more stringent” than the order.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. A petition for rehearing en banc was denied Feb. 6, 2020.

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. The U.S. Department of Justice formally dismissed the lawsuit in Feb. 2021.

Sixteen states have introduced net neutrality legislation in the 2021 legislative session. Vermont enacted legislation that established the Vermont Community Broadband Board to oversee and manage the newly created Vermont Community Broadband Fund. For the Broadband Construction Grant Program, the bill requires the board to give priority to grant proposals that provide broadband service that complies with the consumer protection and net neutrality standards established in 3 V.S.A. §348.

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

HB 5251
Failed Joint Favorable deadline 3/25/21

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

Connecticut

HB 5635
Failed Joint Favorable deadline 3/25/21

Grants each telecommunications company the ability to offer services in any municipality within the state, and prevents a cap or fees associated with an internet data plan.

Connecticut

HB 6155
Failed Joint Favorable deadline 3/25/21

Requires internet service providers that are state contractors to adopt a net neutrality policy.

Connecticut

HB 6156
Failed Joint Favorable deadline 3/25/21

Prevents the institution of a cumulative Internet data usage cap.

Connecticut

SB 4
Failed Joint Favorable deadline 3/25/21

Requires the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority to apply net neutrality principles to broadband internet access service providers and enforce such principles with civil penalties; directs the authority to conduct studies on cybersecurity and data privacy laws in the state; extends the crime of stalking in the second degree to certain electronic disclosures of personal identifiable information without consent.

Connecticut

SB 70
Failed Joint Favorable deadline 3/25/21

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.

Connecticut

SB 451
Failed Joint Favorable deadline 3/25/21

(1) Prevents telecommunications companies from imposing a cap on internet data plans, (2) requires the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority regulate cable television rates, (3) requires the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority regulate information services not currently regulated by the Federal Communications Commission, (4) requires the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority, in consultation with the Office of Consumer Counsel, develop standard contracting terms for information services, and (5) amends the Connecticut Antitrust Act and requires the attorney general to report annually to the General Assembly on enforcement of the Connecticut Antitrust Act with regards to information services issues.

Connecticut

SB 720
Failed Joint Favorable deadline 3/25/21

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

Connecticut

SB 990
Failed Joint Favorable deadline 3/25/21

Prevents the imposition of new data caps during COVID-19.

Delaware

None

 

District of Columbia

None

 

Florida

None

 

Georgia

HB 723

Relates to selling and other trade practices; provides for regulation of certain practices by providers of broadband services; provides for definitions; provides for related matters; repeals conflicting laws.

Guam

None

 

Hawaii

None

 

Idaho

None

 

Illinois

SB 1564

Amends the Public Utilities Act; provides that the holder of a state issued authorization shall not impose data caps on broadband service provided to households; provides that data caps means a limit on the amount of bits or the speed at which a user of broadband service may upload or download bits during a period of time.

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

HB 1064

Prohibits fixed internet service providers and mobile broadband internet access service providers, in the course of providing certain services and subject to a certain limitation, from blocking certain content, applications, services, or devices, or impairing or degrading certain internet traffic on a certain basis; prohibits fixed internet service providers and mobile broadband internet access service providers, in the course of providing certain services, from requiring certain consideration from an edge provider; prohibits fixed internet service providers and mobile broadband internet access service providers, in the course of providing certain services, from managing the internet service provider’s network to directly or indirectly favor certain internet traffic over other internet traffic under certain circumstances; prohibits fixed internet service providers and mobile broadband internet access service providers, in the course of providing certain services, from engaging in zero-rating in exchange for consideration from a third party, zero-rating only certain internet traffic, failing to publicly disclose certain information, or engaging in certain practices that have a certain purpose; prohibits fixed internet service providers and mobile internet service providers, in the course of providing certain services and subject to a certain limitation, from unreasonably interfering with or disadvantaging an end user’s ability to select, access, and use certain services, content, applications, or devices or an edge provider’s ability to make certain content, applications, services, or devices available to end users; provides that it is not a violation of certain provisions of this Act to zero-rate internet traffic in a certain manner under certain circumstances; prohibits fixed internet service providers and mobile internet service providers from offering or providing certain services under certain circumstances; prohibits fixed internet service providers and mobile internet providers from engaging in certain practices related to certain traffic exchange; authorizes the state, political subdivisions, and units, agencies, or instrumentalities of the state or a political subdivision and certain other persons to use state funds to purchase broadband internet access service only from a provider in compliance with certain provisions of this Act; requires the state, political subdivisions, and certain other persons to certify to a certain division of the Public Service Commission that the state funds used to procure certain services were used only to procure certain services offered by a certain provider in compliance with certain provisions of this Act; provides for the application of this Act; provides that a certain waiver is unenforceable and void; defines certain terms; states the intent of the General Assembly; makes the provisions of this Act severable; and generally relates to net neutrality.

Massachusetts

HB 134

Provides for net neutrality and consumer protection.

Massachusetts

HB 139

Relates to protecting internet access during the Coronavirus 2019 pandemic. Provides that for the duration of the COVID-19 emergency and 60 days thereafter, there shall be a moratorium on any pre-existing data caps or allowances imposed by internet service providers.

Massachusetts

HB 141

Relates to regulating broadband internet rate increases, speed and access across the Commonwealth.

Massachusetts

HB 4178

Establishes a municipal broadband development fund. Provides that a state agency, municipality, body politic or constitutional branch of the commonwealth shall not renew any contracts for telephone, broadband or other internet services between the commonwealth and a BISP not compliant with net neutrality certification as provided.

Massachusetts

SB 45

Protects internet access during the Coronavirus 2019 pandemic. Provides that for the duration of the COVID-19 emergency and 60 days thereafter, there shall be a moratorium on any pre-existing data caps or allowances imposed by internet service providers.

Massachusetts

SB 48

Ensures a free and open internet in the Commonwealth.

Massachusetts

SB 52

Removes barriers to internet regulation, competition and affordability.

Massachusetts

SB 2146

Promotes net neutrality and consumer protection.

Michigan

None

 

Minnesota

HF 642
SF 500

Relates to broadband service; prohibits certain activities by internet service providers serving Minnesota customers and those under contract to the state or political subdivisions.

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 5411
SB 1180

The bill entitled the “New Jersey Net Neutrality Act,” establishes a system to ensure that all New Jersey customers of internet service providers (ISPs) are able to receive proper Internet service. The bill addresses concerns over the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) proposed plan to repeal regulations that ensure equal access to the Internet and prevent ISPs from charging customers higher fees or stopping or slowing down internet service.

New Mexico

None

 

New York

AB 1239
SB 4666

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

AB 3479
SB 3477

Relates to instituting internet service neutrality; provides the Public Service Commission with jurisdiction over monitoring broadband internet service providers; requires a certification for internet service neutrality in certain state contracts.

New York

AB 3762

Relates to establishing a commission to study and report on the potential implementation of legislation, rules and regulations for an open internet.

New York

AB 3910
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.

New York

SB 3308

Requires that state contracts only be with internet service providers compliant with net neutrality; establishes a revolving fund for the establishment of municipal internet service providers; appropriates $250 million therefor.

New York

SB 5033

Establishes a commission to study and report on the potential implementation of legislation, rules and regulations for an open internet for New Yorkers.

North Carolina

None

 

North Dakota

None

 

N. Mariana Islands

Bills unavailable

 

Ohio

None

 

Oklahoma

None

 

Oregon

None

 

Pennsylvania

None

 

Puerto Rico

None

 

Rhode Island

HB 5054

Requires internet service providers to follow internet service neutrality requirements.

Rhode Island

SB 342
Passed Senate 6/22/21

Requires public internet service providers to follow internet service neutrality requirements in certain public procurement contracts.

A. Samoa

Bills unavailable

 

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 provides 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. Provides that except for reasonable network management, a local agency insofar as it is engaged in the provision of broadband internet access service pursuant to this article may not block lawful content, applications, services, or nonharmful devices.

South Carolina

HB 3532

Enacts 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.

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

HB 360
Signed by governor 6/8/21, Act 71

This act establishes the Vermont Community Broadband Board to oversee and manage the newly created Vermont Community Broadband Fund. In addition, it establishes preconstruction and construction grant programs for broadband projects, as well as centralized resources for communications union districts (CUDs). For the Broadband Construction Grant Program, the bill requires the board to give priority to grant proposals that provide broadband service that complies with the consumer protection and net neutrality standards established in 3 V.S.A. §348. The act also limits eligible borrowers under the Broadband Expansion Loan Program to CUDs and to internet service providers working in conjunction with either a CUD or a municipality that was not part of a CUD prior to June 1, 2021. The act creates a property tax exemption applicable to new fiber installations owned by an electric distribution utility, provided the fiber is leased to a CUD or an internet service provider working in conjunction with a CUD. Finally, the act establishes several communications workforce initiatives.

Virginia

None

 

U.S. Virgin Islands

None

 

Washington

SB 5112

Requires broadband internet access service providers to provide virtual private network service.

Washington

SB 5470

Prohibits broadband internet access service providers from applying data caps during a state of emergency.

West Virginia

HB 2235

Adds a new article, designated §1-8-1, §1-8-2, and §1-8-3, all relating to net neutrality for state government; provides legislative findings; defines terms; requires the state to utilize net neutral internet services and associated activities; and provides exceptions.

Wisconsin

None

 

Wyoming

None

 

 

 

 

Powered by LexisNexis State NetLexisNexis Terms and Conditions

 

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

Additional Resources