Washington becomes first state to pass law protecting net neutrality

Net Neutrality's Death Official In April (Cue Lawsuits)

Net neutrality is a principle that says no Internet traffic should get special treatment, and Internet service providers can't block or degrade certain traffic because the website or service pumping it out isn't willing to pay up for prioritization.

The state of Washington has put its foot down on the U.S. Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) net neutrality repeal, passing a new law that instead safeguards these protections. "We've seen the power of the open Internet", Gov. Inslee said at the bill signing, per the video clip above. "We know that when D.C. fails to act, Washington state has to do so", said Inslee.

It was only in 2015 that the FCC acceded to the millions of activists pressuring it to adopt historic net neutrality rules that keep the internet free and open - allowing people to share and access information of their choosing without interference. Last December, the Federal Communications Commission voted to rescind open Internet rules passed during the Obama administration.

Opponents of the change in the federal regulations fear that without strong rules, internet service providers will create faster and slower lanes online to extract fees for better service. Bird stated that, "As more of our economic opportunities such as education, health care, banking, job functions, media viewing and relationships thrive online, the more important it is to preserve consumer choice".

The decision to keep net neutrality rules in the state - a move which 25 other states, including California, Illinois, and NY, are also considering - presents a rather curious conundrum. It's likely ISPs will sue Washington state to find out if that works.

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There is one business that's pleased by the loss of net neutrality: companies offering Virtual Private Networks.

"This is not a partisan issue", said Norma Smith, a Republican who co-sponsored the bill.

Although a handful of states have taken executive action to address concerns about the FCC's action, Washington is the first state to pass a law requiring the rules to be followed within its boundaries.

Foursquare, Etsy, Expa, Shutterstock, Kickstarter and Automattic, which owns WordPress.com, said they would challenge the FCC's new order overturning net neutrality protections in court.

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