back to article Washington (no, not that one) to pass hardcore net neutrality law: All ISPs in state must obey

The US state of Washington is on the verge of passing a sweeping new set of net neutrality safeguards that would apply to all carriers within its borders. The bill, HB 2282, would bar anyone offering broadband services within the state from throttling traffic, offering paid prioritization, or blocking lawful content. The bill …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ah, America

    Home of the vested interest

    1. Velv Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Ah, America

      Better make sure your vested interest is bullet proof

  2. Kaltern

    Ohh the true beginning of the Second American Civil War: The Communications Caper.

    1. Teiwaz Silver badge

      The Communications Caper?

      Sounds more like an episode of wacky Races or Top Cat

    2. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

      @Kaltern - Not likely to cause a war. States have quite a bit of latitude internally as long as they do not preempt the feral minimums. Thus Crackerland (Georgia) and Washington can pass laws that apply internally about the web. If anything, the patchwork of laws might get ISPs, etc to beg the Congresscritters to act and provide a national law.

      1. J__M__M

        as long as they do not preempt the feral minimums

        Washington State doesn't really care what wild cats think.

        puff puff give!

      2. Charles 9 Silver badge

        No, because of the Interstate Commerce Clause in the Constitution. Business that crosses state lines automatically becomes federal business. And most of the Internet is interstate if not international in nature.

        1. Swarthy Silver badge
          Big Brother

          Not quite....

          No, because of the Interstate Commerce Clause in the Constitution. Business that crosses state lines automatically becomes federal business.
          As it is written, you are correct; however, as it has been interpreted, you are far to conservative.

          After Wickard v. Filburn (Sorry about the Wiki link...) the interpretation is that if anything affects business that could cross state lines is federal business. IE: Growing your own garden can be federally regulated, because then you are not buying produce from other states.

        2. Ben Tasker Silver badge

          > No, because of the Interstate Commerce Clause in the Constitution. Business that crosses state lines automatically becomes federal business. And most of the Internet is interstate if not international in nature.

          Interestingly, though, I was reading the other day that the Pai, in his rush, has buggered the FCC's ability to pre-empt states on this.

          The FCC decided that it didn't have the authority to regulate broadband and that the Net Neutrality rules were therefore invalid (so might as well be rescinded). The problem here being, if they don't have the authority to impose rules, they also lack the authority to pre-empt states.

          More here - https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2018/02/why-ajit-pai-might-fail-in-quest-to-block-state-net-neutrality-laws/

          Which would be incredibly amusing if it proves to be true.

          1. Charles 9 Silver badge

            The very article you cite states Washington's approach is risky. An offshoot of the Interstate Commerce Clause known as the "dormant commerce clause" states that because the Federal government has the overriding authority concerning interstate commerce, state regulations can be overridden, even without direct Congressional action, if they step on the Fed's toes, so to speak, and intrude too much into other states' matters. The approach taken by nearby Montana (which focuses on state agencies rather than ISPs) is more likely to hold up.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If the States want Net Neutrality to stand the coming challenge by the Feds, they need to move together.

    This piecemeal local legislation isn’t doing anyone any favors...

  4. IGnatius T Foobar
    FAIL

    Policy FAIL

    The mistake here is in making network neutrality a political issue. Pretty much everyone on both sides is wrong. An easy and permanent solution would be to prohibit last-mile carriers from offering any services on their wires. All they should be permitted to do is sell connectivity between the customer premise and the central office. At that point, any carrier who has the audacity to screw with the network can instantly be substituted with another carrier who offers a better policy. Doesn't matter anymore whether it's data, voice, or video.

    Uncoincidentally, this is *exactly* how electricity is delivered in the United States. Provision and distribution are separated.

    1. veti Silver badge

      Re: Policy FAIL

      Yep. With a few provisions about offering said service to all comers on a fair and non-discriminatory basis, that's the way to go. And yes, everyone already knows it because we've all seen many other services that work that way.

      You've mentioned electricity. See also: roads (which are not owned or controlled by delivery companies), or mailboxes (not owned or controlled by USPS). It's not a hard model to grasp, not hard to build, and doesn't take much regulation. And yet, it seems to be pretty much missing from the discussion.

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: Policy FAIL

        I thought the USPS DID demand specifications for mailboxes or they'd refuse to deliver. Thus the words "Approved by the Postmaster Grneral".

      2. Stu Mac

        Re: Policy FAIL

        Long overdue in the UK as well. Media companies shouldn't item cables and cable companies shouldn't be media companies.

        Note well, BT and Virgin.

        As for:

        "would bar anyone offering broadband services within the state from throttling traffic, offering paid prioritization, or blocking lawful content. The bill also requires ISPs to post their policies on traffic management within their networks online for all to see"

        Is why America is so important, particularly to the internet.

    2. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: Policy FAIL

      "At that point, any carrier who has the audacity to screw with the network can instantly be substituted with another carrier who offers a better policy. Doesn't matter anymore whether it's data, voice, or video."

      And if there's only ONE carrier in the immediate area, such as in the boonies?

  5. Anne Nonymous

    This is flat out illegal. States can't regulate interstate commerce. And it's dangerous: Are ISPs going to have to keep up with different laws in 50 states? If they do, guess whose bills are going to go up to pay the lawyers?

    1. J__M__M

      This is flat out illegal

      So is pot, yet here we are.

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: This is flat out illegal

        That's still an argument in progress. Permissive states won't raise a finger, but the DEA and ATF can simply come in DIRECTLY.

    2. Ben Tasker Silver badge

      > This is flat out illegal. States can't regulate interstate commerce.

      You may be right, but they have a *lot* more leeway with their buying power.

      So Washington's approach (regulating commerce) may not stand up to scrutiny, however the approach of other states (we'll not allow local government contracts to be awarded to anyone not complying with these requirements) is almost certainly very legal. There's no regulation, simply an exercise of buying discretion.

      Personally, I think the ISP's got greedy and have bitten off far, far more than they can chew in this case. They may never have been particularly consumer friendly, but taking such a user-hostile position was such a big step that it couldn't come without risk

  6. Winkypop Silver badge
    Coat

    Well Spokane!

    I hope this will Seattle the issue.

  7. DerekCurrie
    Happy

    ONE pie in Pai's face! Bwahaha.

    How about 50!

    http://www.qualityemploymentservice.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/pie-in-the-face.jpg

  8. Claptrap314 Silver badge

    Regulation over a sweetheart deal

    I live in WA, and, just, uggh.

    The first problem is all the sweetheart deals that the cables have that have allowed them to create effective local monopolies.

    The second problem is that the cat is out of the bag wrt last mile carriers strangling disfavoured endpoints and protocols. (And attacking consumer privacy.)

    Now we have sweeping legislation to try to deal with the second problem while ignoring the first.

    In the case I know about, the SC decided to invalidate part of the 21st amendment--in favour of the feds. (Which demonstrated finally that the US is no longer a constitutional republic.)

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: Regulation over a sweetheart deal

      "In the case I know about, the SC decided to invalidate part of the 21st amendment--in favour of the feds. (Which demonstrated finally that the US is no longer a constitutional republic.)"

      Care to cite the case, then?

      1. Claptrap314 Silver badge

        Re: Regulation over a sweetheart deal

        http://lmgtfy.com/?q=us+supreme+court+21st+amendment

        Granholm v. Heald

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: Regulation over a sweetheart deal

          Now it makes more sense. It pitted the 21st Amendment against the Dormant Commerce Clause (inferred from Article I), and the SCOTUS used the pre-Prohibition status quo (which the 21st Amendment was meant to restore, as its primary purpose was to repeal the 18th Amendment) to say the Dormant Commerce Clause takes precedence over that part of the 21st Amendment in the case of direct interstate wine sales.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019