Governor signs net neutrality executive order

Jan 24, 2018

New York State will require all internet providers to observe net neutrality or risk losing their eligibility for state contracts.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo enacted the policy through executive order Wednesday, following a similar move by Montana Gov. Steve Bullock on Monday. Several states are considering how to respond after the Federal Communications Commission last month repealed its net neutrality policy.

"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 said. "With this executive order, we reaffirm our commitment to freedom and democracy and help ensure that the internet remains free and open to all."

New York State legislators had pushed for the new policy as a way to protect consumers by using the state's lucrative information technology contracts as leverage over internet companies.

Led by New York's Eric Schneiderman, attorneys general for 21 states and the District of Columbia have sued to block the repeal of the federal policy, which had banned companies from interfering with web traffic or speeds to favor certain sites or apps.

Timothy Kremer, Executive Director of the New York State School Boards Association, said he is "encouraged" by the executive order.

"While this action does not apply directly to school districts, it is a good first step toward bringing net neutrality principles back into New York State after the Federal Communications Commission eliminated these federal protections," Kremer said in a statement.

On a related matter, Schneiderman also gave an update on his investigation into what he alleges are "millions of fake comments that corrupted the FCC public process" that led to the federal repeal of net neutrality. He said the U.S. Government Accountability Office has agreed to investigate the comments, but his own investigation will continue as well.

"My office will continue our investigation into this potential impersonation – which is a crime under New York law," Schneiderman said. "The FCC’s decision to move ahead with its vote last month – despite widespread evidence of corruption – made a mockery of our public comment process and rewarded those who perpetrated fraud in order to advance their own agenda."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.