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Montana is the first state to enact its own net neutrality rules

Montana is the first state to enact its own net neutrality rules

"There has been a lot of talk around the country about how to respond to the recent decision by Federal Communications Commission to repeal net neutrality rules, which keep the Internet free and open", Bullock said.

Montana's Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock on Monday signed an executive order requiring all internet service providers with state contracts to commit to net neutrality, or the principle that all traffic on the internet should be treated equally. The rules had barred internet service providers from blocking or slowing down access to the internet or charging companies a fee to reach customers faster than competitors.

Bullock, in a statement, alluded congressional Democrats efforts to overturn the repeal.

But most Republicans, including FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, argue the rules were unnecessary and that existing laws are sufficient to preserve an open internet.

In the petition, the states allege violations of the Administrative Procedure Act's notice-and-comment rulemaking requirements, and claim that the FCC's actions with respect to Net Neutrality were "arbitrary, capricious, and an abuse of discretion". Aman declined to say if the broadband association would file a lawsuit over Bullock's order. Experts have specifically cast doubt on the FCC's ability to prevent state governments from devising their own broadband rules. But Bullock is attempting to sidestep the FCC's preemption by making net neutrality a condition of state contracts rather than a law applying broadly to any Internet service. But while Senate Democrats have picked off one Republican to nudge pro-net neutrality contingent withing one vote of a majority, such a resolution would face an uphill battle in the House and potentially a death blow on President Trump's desk. To qualify for state contracts, ISPs must not violate net neutrality principles "with respect to any consumer in the State of Montana (including, but not limited to, the State itself)", the order says.

The regulations will affect major providers like AT&T, Charter, CenturyLink, and Verizon, all of which have to do business with the state to some degree in order to serve major metropolitan areas. The group includes attorneys general from the states of California, New York, Virginia and the District of Columbia, as well as private attorneys from entities like Mozilla and other public interest groups.

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