New York Governor Mandates Net Neutrality in Contracts

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signed an executive order that mandates net neutrality in state contracts for broadband service.

That follows a similar order signed earlier this week by Montana's Gov. Steve Bullock, also a Democrat.

The New York order's "whereas" clauses include a knock on the FCC and the ISPs who support the FCC's network neutrality regulations rollback: "Whereas the FCC recently chose to do away with fee and open internet protections in order to satisfy corporate interests that are not aligned with those of New Yorkers," it says.

On Dec. 14, a divided FCC -- the Democrats fiercely dissented -- voted to eliminate the FCC's rules against blocking, throttling and paid prioritization of internet traffic, saying the Federal Trade Commission could enforce any violations of fairness or competitiveness in the delivery of broadband service. ISPs have almost universally pledged not to block or throttle, while leaving the option open of paid prioritization.

The New York order requires that contractors adhere to network neutrality principles, defined as: "ISPs will not block, throttle, or prioritize internet content or applications or require that end users pay different or higher rates to access specific types of content or applications."

State entities can only enter into contracts with ISPs who sign that pledge, as it were.

The order affects any new contracts or contract renewals after March 1, 2018.

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.