Colorado Legislature Kills Net Neutrality Bill

HB 1312 in the Colorado legislature was reaching to tie state broadband grants to net neutrality practices.

by John Frank, The Denver Post / April 26, 2018
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(TNS) — A Republican-led Colorado state Senate panel rejected a net neutrality bill late Monday, the same day the Federal Communications Commission repealed protections for an open Internet.

The state-level measure attempted to disqualify Internet service providers from receiving grants from a broadband program if they manipulated access and speed based on content. The measure also would have required governments contracting for service to give preference to providers who certified allegiance to open-Internet standards.

“It uses the nexus of state support to protect the idea … of free Internet,” said Sen. Kerry Donovan, D-Vail.

The 3-2 party-line vote to kill House Bill 1312 came after representatives for cable companies and major technology companies voiced opposition to the measure because it was over-regulation. The FCC repealed the rule effective Monday but some provisions remain in place pending more review and lawsuits.

“We believe the best approach is to find a federal solution,” said Matt Wendel, a lobbyist for the Colorado Technology Association.

State Rep. Chris Hansen, D-Denver, said he hopes to continue to push for the net neutrality protections at the state’s broadband board, which oversees the High Cost Support Mechanism grant program.

“We should not allow public money to be spent on non-neutral service,” he added. “We may have a situation where an ISP could propose to serve a new area using (broadband) funds, create a low bid, and then use throttling or paid fast lanes to top up the revenue model. That is now allowed under the FCC decision, and this is our chance to help Colorado consumers and avoid that outcome.”

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