Why AT&T Says Congress Should Pass a Net Neutrality Law

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo

"It is time for Congress to end the debate once and for all, by writing new laws that govern the Internet and protect consumers".

"Any contract or contract renewal entered into by affected state entities for internet services on or after March 1, 2018, shall include a binding agreement consistent with the foregoing, and affected state entities shall not enter into a contract with any ISPs, agents therefore, or other entity offering to or procuring on behalf of any affected state entity internet services, without such a binding agreement", the executive order said. "Congressional action is needed to establish an "Internet Bill of Rights" that applies to all Internet companies and guarantees neutrality, transparency, openness, non-discrimination and privacy protection for all Internet users", he declares.

The lawmakers behind the idea say it's a simple way to use the state's lucrative information technology contracts as leverage to encourage fair treatment for consumers around the state.

In 2015, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved an open internet order which regulated internet service the same way as any other public utility, and restricted those providers from charging more for access to certain sites or for faster access, throttling streaming speeds for specific sites, and from blocking or prioritizing certain sites over others.

A spokesman for Charter Communications didn't comment on Cuomo's executive order, but said the company would abide by net neutrality rules. The central point in Stephenson's letter is that one set of rules should apply to both internet service providers and internet companies.

Much like the Montana measure, New York's order requires that all internet service providers, or ISPs, contracting with state agencies must not block, throttle, or engage in paid prioritization of internet content. In the last month, dozens of states have introduced legislation, filed lawsuits and implemented procurement standards that would require internet service providers to adhere to net neutrality principles.

But David L. Cohen, Comcast's senior vice president and chief diversity officer, in December praised the FCC's adoption of its "Restoring Internet Freedom Order". "An approach to internet regulation grounded in traditional consumer protection and constitutional limits would transcend today's artificially restrictive and anticompetitive version of the net neutrality debate while remaining true to free market principles that drive innovation and investment".

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"This is about keeping a free and open internet", Fahy said. Now over 20 states' are suing the federal government to block the repeal, and a number of states have introduced net neutrality bills within their state legislators.

"Because the internet is so critical to everyone, it's understandably confusing and a bit concerning when you hear the rules have recently changed, yet again", Stephenson wrote.

School districts in NY said they too are looking at their legal options.

Greer called out AT&T for its large-scale lobbying to overturn the 2015 FCC net neutrality rules.

"Given the election cycle, it's probably a heavy lift", O'Rielly said of a net neutrality compromise bill.

"We are walling people off from being participants in their own lives", said Mike Neppl of the state Libraries Association.

The rules, according to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, solved a problem that did not exist.

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