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This week, Montana Governor Steve Bullock signed an executive order which requires internet service providers to follow the principals of net neutrality if they wish to receive state contracts and funding. This makes Montana the first state to enact official legislation directly opposing the Federal Communication Commission's massively unpopular decision to repeal net neutrality regulations.
Many states and their respective attorneys general have previously released statements or voiced their disapproval of the FCC's decision, but Bullock wanted to actually do something concrete about it. He also released the following statement to go along with the executive order:
There has been a lot of talk around the country about how to respond to the recent decision by the Federal Communications Commission to repeal net neutrality rules, which keep the internet free and open. It’s time to actually do something about it [...] The State of Montana is one of the biggest consumers of internet services in our state. Today we’re making our choice clear: we want net neutrality.
The new executive order specifically requires ISPs to not block web content, throttle web content, or create internet fast lanes if they wish to receive state contracts. These were all illegal under the Obama-era rulings but the FCC, Republicans, and industry executives felt they were too strict and were harming the internet. The official FCC repeal prohibited states from enacting their own net neutrality laws but Montana and many other states are eager to challenge this.
While this is definitely the first of ( hopefully) many steps in the right direction, it won't solve the problem overnight. It doesn't expressly prohibit those practices for all providers in the state since not all have government contracts. The order will take effect immediately but also includes a six-month grace period to ensure providers are in compliance.