We Can Still Keep the Internet Neutral


On Monday, Montana Gov.Steve Bullock struck a mighty blow for net neutrality by issuing an executive order that adds a provision to his state's procurement rules ensuring that no internet service provider can get a Montana state contract unless it embraces net neutrality. Then, on Wednesday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered all New York State agencies 'not to enter into any contracts for internet service unless the ISPs agree to adhere to net neutrality principles.’ This is a powerful action that we must urge all governors to embrace.  After all, creating a patchwork of unequal, prioritized services would be too complex and too inconvenient for the telecommunications giants. If enough states -- especially big ones -- take this stand, then net neutrality will effectively be restored.  Indeed, this strategy of "selective purchasing" was one of the main methods that cities and states used thirty years ago to pressure many companies to end their support for the racist regime in apartheid South Africa.


I also applaud the courage and wisdom of Attorney General Healey, who has already already joined five other state attorneys general in a lawsuit to restore net neutrality. And I salute Senator Barbara L'Italien, Rep. Andrew Vargas and the 37 other members of the state legislature who have signed on to a bill that would prohibit "blocking, throttling, or paid prioritization in the provision of internet service" in Massachusetts. But lawsuits take time and money -- and that new bill has yet to work its way through the legislative process. If just a few more governors join Bullock and Cuomo in this fight, they can instantly require internet service providers to keep net access open, fair and neutral across the nation.


So how about it, Governor Baker? You know that the assault on net neutrality is yet another reckless and destructive GOP policy that enriches the few at the expense of the many -- and stifles economic innovation. Isn't it time to end your mysterious silence on this topic and take a stand? Without spending a dime -- with just one stroke of your pen -- you can make a real difference on an issue that's deeply important to our people and our economy. Why wait another minute?