The state vs. federal government battle over net neutrality continues, with Rhode Island’s legislature introducing companion state Senate and House bills today. They are modeled after legislation written by assemblymember Patricia Fahey in neighboring New York State.
Rather than regulate internet service providers outright, and risk getting slapped down for “preempting” federal government authority, the Rhode Island bill, like New York’s, aims to hit ISPs in the pocketbook. If the bills become law, state and local entities would only contract for services from ISPs that uphold the net neutrality principles of no blocking, no throttling, and no paid prioritization (aka fast lanes). Rhode Island joins a growing list of states taking net neutrality into their own hands—some more aggressively than others—after the FCC scrapped its regulations in December. In addition to New York, they include California, Massachusetts, Nebraska, and Washington.