AG Rosenblum Testifies in Support of Net Neutrality State Procurement Rules

February 13, 2018
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Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum today testified before the Oregon House Rules Committee in support of HB 4155, legislation that would require the State of Oregon to no longer do business with Internet Service Providers (ISP) who refuse to adhere to net neutrality principals. In 2017, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to remove internet neutrality provisions, and now ISPs can discriminate based on content. Without net neutrality provisions in place, ISPs, such as Comcast, Frontier, Century Link and others can choose which websites, content and applications to promote.

“The real losers with the loss of net neutrality rules won’t be the Netflixes or Amazons of the world – it will be our small businesses. Our start-ups—our entrepreneurs,” testified Attorney General Rosenblum. “It’s easy enough to imagine how the end of net neutrality will trigger ISPs creating new “fast-lane” packages – pay us a little (or a lot) extra, or your stuff just won’t load as fast.”

If passed, the legislation would prohibit state agencies from entering into contracts for internet access with ISP’s that do not agree to net neutrality provisions. Each year, the state spends $11 million dollars on contracts for internet services.

“At its most basic level, HB 4155 states that Oregon will not engage in commerce with Internet Service Providers who refuse to adhere to principles of net neutrality. They would not be allowed to engage in what the bill calls ‘paid prioritization’. Net neutrality prevents ISPs from prioritizing internet use through preferential traffic management, or the blocking of lawful content,” continued AG Rosenblum.

The bill also provides for a few exceptions to be defined by the Public Utilities Commission. For example, if paid prioritization provides significant public interest benefits or constitutes ‘reasonable network management’.

In January, 2018 Attorney General Rosenblum joined 22 other states on behalf of Oregon in suing the FCC for an illegal rollback of net neutrality.