The fight for net neutrality is officially on. With high-profile players like Netflix, Mark Hamill, and Senate Democrats strongly denouncing the FCC’s recent overturning of Obama-era net neutrality rules, some official changes are actually being put in place to ensure at least some people have access to a free and open internet.
On Wednesday, New York governor Andrew Cuomo has signed an executive order to protect net neutrality in the state of New York—but he is already the second governor to do so. Montana governor Steve Bullock was the first to announce his state would only do business with companies that adhere to the net neutrality rules on Tuesday.
"The FCC's dangerous ruling goes against the core values of our democracy, and New York will do everything in our power to protect net neutrality and the free exchange of ideas," Cuomo wrote in a statement on Twitter on Wednesday.
Bullock, for his part, announced his decision on Tuesday. “Montana’s future depends on a free and open internet,” he wrote in a tweet. Bullock signed an executive order in his former high school (because that’s how Montana rolls) and became “the first state in the nation to actually do something to safeguard internet freedom.”
According to Mashable, Montana's government has broadband contracts with Charter, CenturyLink, Verizon and AT&T, among others, so Bullock's new order could have a significant impact.
Montana's future depends on a free and open internet. Today we became the first state in the nation to actually do something to safeguard internet freedom.— Steve Bullock (@GovernorBullock) January 22, 2018
I signed an executive order at my former high school to ensure the State of Montana will only do business with companies that adhere to #netneutrality and I'm inviting all other states to join me - if you want a copy, I'll personally email it to you. pic.twitter.com/ZZSJ0ZrELp— Steve Bullock (@GovernorBullock) January 22, 2018
This is likely just the beginning. Cuomo and Bullock have spearheaded the process by signing executive orders, but state attorneys from at least 21 different states, including California, Virginia, and the District of Columbia, have already filed petitions with a federal court to challenge the FCC’s December ruling. They called the decision to overturn the rules “arbitrary, capricious, and an abuse of discretion,” and claimed that the FCC violated federal laws and regulations. Over in the Senate, Democrats announced last week they were one vote short of a majority for a vote to overturn the repeal of net neutrality.