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Oregon net neutrality pushed by lawsuit, petition, bill

February 12, 2018

By Oregon Small Business Association

Net neutrality is intended to insert government into internet broadband decisions by forbidding broadband providers from placing costs or controls on heavy-users of their own lines.    Net neutrality has been a free ride for internet intensive services like Netflix and Amazon at the expense of telecommunication companies.    The unfairness of the rule led the Trump administration pushed to get rid of the Federal Communication Commission’s rules requiring net neutrality and the FCC repealed net neutrality rules in December.

Since then, chaos has not broken loose on the internet. But attorneys general have filed suit to keep net neutrality.

A group called Oregonians for Net Neutrality has started gathering signatures for an initiative to enforce net neutrality in the state. Initiatives need nearly 90,000 signatures to qualify for the ballot.  Rep. Jennifer Williamson, D-Portland, announced that she will add net neutrality to a bill about online privacy she had introduced last year.

Oregon is one of several states considering their own net neutrality legislation, but legal scholars and the FCC say federal law takes priority; and courts have ruled repeatedly that federal law and FCC regulations take precedence in telecommunications.

Meanwhile, Oregon is one of 21 states suing to overturn the FCC’s new rules. And Democrats say they’re close to having enough Senate votes to reinstitute net neutrality rules. That’s a symbolic effort, though, because there aren’t enough votes in the House to overturn the rules or overturn a presidential veto.

Net neutrality may or may not be a great idea, but Oregon should not do something that clearly violates the federal government’s authority to regulate telecommunications. Any Oregon law is more than likely to be struck down in court.

The Oregon efforts may grab attention, sending a signal to Washington, but an Oregon net-neutrality law is unlikely to succeed.


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Discuss this article

KellyJ February 14, 2018

This article simply is not factual. The primary reason net neutrality is paramount in America is because there is little competition in most markets. Most people have only one provider that can provide reasonable service. The lack of competition gives an internet provider free reign to do as they wish, because… who you gonna call? All most consumers want is a set of dumb pipes to transport data over the internet into their home and out. With the costs of data communication going lower and lower over time, isn’t it odd that internet service pricing stays the same price or even increases? The internet was built with no formal net neutrality rules and it flourished. It was only after repeated transgressions by internet providers that formal net neutrality rules were enacted. The rules were very lightweight; they only leveled the playing field. The did not, for example, stop a provider from selling internet service packages based on speed: the more you pay, the faster the connection. The major internet providers whine about the costs of deployment and how they must do this and that to compete, but Google and other startups (including municipalities) have proven high speed internet (fiber) with no data usage limitations can be provided at costs often much less than what the mainstream providers charge. What is really telling is when a low cost/high bandwidth provider moves into an area, the mainstream providers magically find a way to match the pricing and features overnight. I can go on and on about this, so I will stop. Research this topic. It’s clear that net neutrality is a very good thing for consumers. It might hurt the shareholders a tiny bit since it keeps an internet provider from utterly reaming its customers, but that’s a small price to pay for fairness.

Lynn Roper February 16, 2018

I don’t want the old days of slow internet speeds due to those who are not paying their fair share. It is that simple.

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