In December of 2017, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to roll back net neutrality laws, but the 3-2 decision is far from the end of the issue’s debate:
When the FCC repealed net neutrality, they included a provision prohibiting states from re-implementing the rules on their own, but the governors of the three states found a loophole in the agency’s rule through the passing their bills by executive order, according to tech news site Ars Technica.
Twenty-one states and the District of Columbia reportedly filed lawsuits against the FCC over its repeal of net neutrality, and people are still speaking up about the decisions:
YouTuber Rob Bliss, for instance, set up a demonstration of net neutrality’s perceived impacts as cones in the street, then riding his bike in front of cars to “throttle” traffic, unless drivers wanted to pay a $5 fee.
Others think Texas would benefit by following suit.
In a piece written before the FCC vote in December, the Texas Tribune argued equal internet access helps small businesses in Texas grow.
They say cities, like Houston, where everyone is on the go, can use any advantage you can get, including access to high-speed internet, especially if entrepreneurs use it to run a business.
The Tribune claims Texas is known for its pro-small business and pro-business in general attitude, and changing this stance could be counterproductive for business owners and individuals potnetially required to pay more for internet.
If the California bill passes, it would outlaw the throttling and blocking of content, as well as “paid prioritization, or providing preferential treatment of some Internet traffic to any Internet customer” in the state, according to its text, which goes on to explain where an Internet service provider (ISP) can and cannot interfere:
“…a customer’s ability to select, access, and use broadband Internet access service or lawful Internet content, applications, services, or devices of the customer’s choice, or an edge provider’s ability to make lawful content, applications, services, or devices available to a customer.”
Per the text, violations would be punishable under consumer protection laws, according to the Ars Technica article.
If the bill passes into law, analysts theorize it could set a precedent Texas may benefit from following.
However, since Texas Senators Cornyn and Cruz both supported the FCC’s vote and spoke out against bills like the one pending in Calif., a similar bill could potentially encounter resistance in the Lone Star legislature.
Stay tuned, Houston.