New York state will require internet providers to abide by net neutrality or risk losing eligibility for state contracts, even though the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to repeal those rules.
An executive order, signed by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday, said service providers doing business with the state must treat internet traffic equally and cannot block, throttle or favour content.
“The FCC’s dangerous ruling goes against the core values of our democracy, and New York will do everything in our power to protect net neutrality and the free exchange of ideas,” Cuomo said.
The new policy aims to protect consumers by using the state’s lucrative information technology contracts as leverage over internet companies.
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But New York could face a legal challenge, as the FCC blocked any states from passing their own net neutrality rules. The FCC could try to argue in court that states are putting up barriers that must be struck down, according to the Washington Post.
The order comes two days after Montana’s governor, Steve Bullock, signed his own executive order that also forces internet service providers to follow net neutrality rules.
In December, the FCC voted to repeal net neutrality, which was put in place in 2015 to ensure a free and open internet.
FCC repeals U.S. net neutrality rules
New York and Montana’s measures do not directly reinstate the FCC’s net neutrality rule. But the order now requires state officials to purchase internet service only from broadband companies that follow net neutrality.
Major companies, including Verizon and AT&T, have signed contracts with New York state.
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Last week, attorneys general for 21 states and the District of Columbia also filed a lawsuit to challenge the FCC’s rule to scrap net neutrality.
— With files from the Associated Press
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