Senator L’Italien Files Bill Protecting Consumers In Wake Of Net Neutrality Rollback
Dec 22, 2017 05:27AM
By Theresa Gilman
State Senator Barbara L'Italien
(Editor's Note: the
following information was provided by the office of State Senator Barbara
BOSTON – Senator Barbara L’Italien (D-Andover), Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure, on Tuesday filed a bill protecting Massachusetts consumers after the FCC rollback of Obama-era net neutrality rules last week. An Act Protecting Consumers by Prohibiting Blocking, Throttling, or Paid Prioritization in the Provision of Internet Service was introduced yesterday in the House by State Representative Andy X. Vargas (D-Haverhill). This is Vargas’ first piece of legislation after recently winning special election.
“A free and open internet is the foundation of communication in our modern society,” said L’Italien. “Net neutrality has paved the way for people to share ideas, educate themselves, and make a living. A free flow of information and opportunity for small businesses are two of the ideals this country was founded on. The recent FCC rollback blocks free speech and access to opportunity. This is consumer protection at its most important.”
Massachusetts becomes one of the first states to take action after the FCC rollback of net neutrality. An Act Protecting Consumers by Prohibiting Blocking, Throttling, or Paid Prioritization in the Provision of Internet Service was modeled after a bill in the Washington State Legislature which aims to protect consumers and preserve an open internet space.
The bill, which includes an emergency preamble, directs the Department of Telecommunications and Cable to protect consumers and open internet access throughout the Commonwealth. It prohibits broadband providers from blocking, throttling, or engaging in paid prioritization (creating “fast lanes”) of lawful internet content. The bill also allows the Attorney General to enforce businesses’ cooperation with net neutral practices as they are outlined.
L’Italien represents Andover, Dracut, Lawrence, and Tewksbury in the Massachusetts State Senate. She is a candidate for Congress in Massachusetts’ Third Congressional District in the race to replace outgoing Congresswoman Niki Tsongas.