A bill aimed at protecting net neutrality in Colorado is on its way to being signed into law.
Colorado Governor Jared Polis is expected to sign Senate Bill 78, the Colorado Sun reported Friday. The bill was introduced earlier this year by state Democrats and was passed in the Colorado House this week. The bill would protect an open and equal internet by holding ISPs accountable for money they receive from taxpayers for broadband expansion initiatives in the region.
The bill would prevent ISPs from throttling, establishing network “fast lanes”, or blocking otherwise legal content, services, or apps. It would also require that ISPs be transparent about their network practices, all of which are standard net neutrality protections. However, if providers were found to be engaging in any of the aforementioned practices, they could be forced to repay whatever money they’d received from the state for rural broadband initiatives.
A representative for Polis told Gizmodo in a statement by email that the governor “supports the bill.”
Colorado is just one state moving to undo the mess that the Federal Communications Commission created in 2017 after it rolled back net neutrality rules. But with its bill, the state has an opportunity to set a benchmark for state-level net neutrality law. State Senator Kerry Donovan, one of the four Democrats who sponsored the bill, said per the Sun that issues faced by bills in other states helped inform Senate Bill 78, adding that it sought an “appropriate nexus of action.”
“This bill says that if you’re going to ask to be funded by the people in Colorado directly out of their paycheck then you need to adhere to these principles,” Donovan said.
Last month, Democrats in Congress introduced the Save the Internet Act to reinstate Obama-era net neutrality protections for an open and equal internet. This week, the House Energy and Commerce Committee advanced the bill on a 30-22 vote, and it will next move to the House floor.
“The overwhelming majority of voters from across the political spectrum want Congress to do their jobs and restore these basic protections that never should have been taken away in the first place,” Evan Greer, deputy director of digital rights advocacy group Fight for the Future, said in a statement this week.
“The Save the Internet Act would do exactly that, and any lawmaker who doesn’t want to invoke the wrath of their constituents should vote for its clean passage on the House floor.”