On May 17, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) signed SB19-078 into law, which prohibits internet service providers from throttling or blocking otherwise legal content, services, and apps, and from establishing internet fast lanes. Providers violating the law would be required to repay the state for any funding received for rural broadband initiatives.
Colorado is the fifth state to establish net neutrality rules, after California, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington. Implementation of California’s law is on hold pending the outcome of a lawsuit brought against the Federal Communications Commission [FCC] in federal court.
These laws follow the FCC’s 2018 repeal of its 2015 Open Internet Order, issued during the Obama administration, which declared internet service providers a public utility to be regulated like gas, water, electric, and phone service companies. The U.S. Senate voted 52-47 to reverse the 2018 ruling on May 16, 2018, but the issue was not taken up in the U.S. House.
Other states have implemented rules related to net neutrality via executive order. Governors in six states—Hawaii, Montana, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont—signed executive orders in 2018 requiring state agencies to only contract work with providers that adhere to net neutrality.