We gather here today to mark and mourn the death of net neutrality, which, despite a valient fight and 9 million comments to the FCC, officially took its last breath on Monday... at least, if you don't live in Washington state, where, as soon net neutrality died, it was immediately reborn. It may sound like a miracle, but it's actually just HB 2282, a bill that passed in March that protects net neutrality and a free and open internet.
Net neutrality, a long-held principle of the internet that was established as an official rule during the Obama administration, requires internet service providers to treat all content equally, so they aren't allowed to slow down, say, this website just because we might write that FCC Chairman Ajit Pai looks like he gargles Mitch McConnell's balls. The state bill went into effect as soon as net neutrality expired on a federal level (which happened today), and it will prevent internet service providers from creating "slow" and "fast" lanes on the internet. Basically everyone from consumer advocates to human rights groups and even tech companies supported net neutrality, but, of course, that didn't stop the FCC from overturning it.
“No one other than the giant cable companies thinks it's a good idea to let the giant cable companies dictate the speed and price of the content you view on the internet,” says Rep. Drew Hansen, the Bainbridge Island Democrat who sponsored the Washington legislation.
Other states, including New York, Vermont, and Montana, are using executive orders and various other means of reinstating net neutrality, but at the moment, Washington is the only state to pass a bill protecting it. Oregon passed similiar legislation, but it won't go into effect until next year, as Motherboard reports.
Of course, that doesn't mean this fight is over for good. In a phone interview, Hansen told me that during the bill's hearings, even the giant cable companies said they agree with the principles of net neutrality. But if they start filing lawsuits, we'll know they're full of shit. For now, at least, net neutrality is safe... just as long as you stay in Washington.