Hawaii Governor Mandates Net Neutrality in Contracts

Add Hawaii Gov. David Ige to the growing list of state execs mandating net neutrality from ISPs in state broadband contracts.

Ige this week signed an executive order to that effect, which said that it was an effort to "preserve the basic principle of the free and open exchange of information, secured by a free and open internet."

The order requires state agencies to contract for internet-related services only with ISPs who agree contractually not to "hinder, throttle, restrict or prioritize internet content, applications or certain data streams."

Starting this week, all contracts must include language to that effect.

Related: GOP FCC KOs Title II

Hawaii follows New Jersey, Montana and New York, all of whose governors have signed similar orders as a response to the FCC's Dec. 14 vote to eliminate the rules against blocking, throttling, and paid prioritization.

The resolution says the FCC voted “to end net neutrality protections." The FCC Republican majority that voted for the rule rollback argue it is instead voting to shift enforcement of protections to the Federal Trade Commission or Department of Justice.

The FCC rule rollback says it preempts states' own efforts to regulate the internet, but it is unclear how that applies to state contracts.

Ige has been in the news lately after his state's erroneous nuclear missile attack emergency alert spooked residents and led to an FCC investigation.

(Photo via Rock1997's Flickr. Image taken on Jan. 18, 2017 and used per Creative Commons 2.0 license. The photo was cropped to fit 16x9 aspect ratio.)

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.