The state of Washington has become the first state in the U.S. to pass a law protecting net neutrality.
The FCC lead by chairman Ajit Pai voted 3-2 along party lines to remove the Obama-era regulation that prevented internet providers from treat content unevenly. Under current rules, internet providers cannot charge extra fees to work around any blocks or limitations of internet content they impose. The regulation is currently set to dissolve completely on April 23, but Washington is looking to protect its residents from that dissolution.
The state legislature introduced House Bill 2282 after debate about passing a law or establishing net neutrality through executive order. It was determined through floor debate that passing net neutrality as a law would make it more difficult to challenge in court.
“A person engaged in the provision of broadband internet access service in Washington state… may not: Block lawful content, applications, services or nonharmful devices, subject to network management; impair or degrade lawful internet traffic; engage in paid prioritization.”
The bill has been signed into law by governor Jay Inslee and goes into effect in 90 days, June 6, or whenever net neutrality rules dissolve. While Washington is the first state to pass a law concerning network neutrality, California, New York, and Massachusetts also have bills proposed that would provide similar protections.
We break down the ways ending net neutrality might affect gaming here.
I expect a number of states will likely follow Washington’s lead. While there is also a legislative effort to resist the FCC ruling in the Senate, it is one vote short of passing, and likely will stay that way unless people pressure their political representatives.