Washington (no, not that one) to pass hardcore net neutrality law: All ISPs in state must obey

US tech hotbed steps up with strictest traffic protections yet

Seattle skyline

The US state of Washington is on the verge of passing a sweeping new set of net neutrality safeguards that would apply to all carriers within its borders.

The bill, HB 2282, would bar anyone offering broadband services within the state from throttling traffic, offering paid prioritization, or blocking lawful content. The bill also requires ISPs to post their policies on traffic management within their networks online for all to see.

The legislation was passed overwhelmingly in both legislative bodies - 93-5 by the house and 35-15 in the senate - and is widely expected to be signed into law by Governor Jay Inslee, a net neutrality supporter himself, within the next few days.

Representative Drew Hanson, sponsor of the bill in Washington, urged other states to follow suit with their own net neutrality provisions.

When signed into law, HB 2282 or "Protecting an open internet in Washington state", will be the strongest net neutrality bill passed yet by a US state in the wake of FCC chairman Ajit Pai's industry-backed slash and burn of his agency's net neutrality regulations. The FCC repeal is set to go into effect on April 23.

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Pai was recently rewarded for his efforts with a collectable firearm courtesy of the NRA.

A number of other states, including Montana and Vermont, have previously passed their own respective net neutrality regulations that forbid state agencies from doing business with any ISP that blocks, throttles, or prioritizes traffic. Washington is going a step further by extending those provisions beyond the government and into anyone who operates a broadband service within the state.

This may put the state in conflict with Pai and his pals. The FCC boss has indicated that the decision to kill net neutrality is final, and individual states shouldn't be able to make their own decisions on the matter – a viewpoint Verizon, Comcast and other Big Cable types have heavily lobbied for, funnily enough.

The passage also comes as Democrats in Congress are making a push to advance a Congressional Review Act that would roll back the FCC's decision. That campaign faces an uphill climb in the Republican controlled House, although early reports suggest the Senate is split 50/50 on the matter. ®




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