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Governor’s executive order seeks to maintain net neutrality

Gov. David Ige signed an executive order Monday directing state agencies to do business only with internet providers willing to contractually “abide by net neutrality principles.”

According to Ige’s office, “net neutrality bans paid prioritization of content that is seen on the internet; bans filtering or blocking of content, thus ensuring consumers unfettered access to any lawful content on the internet; and bans throttling of internet speeds for accessing certain content, which would have the same effect as blocking content.”

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The Federal Communications Commission voted Dec. 13, 2017, to discontinue its 2015 Open Internet Order, which had required net neutrality nationally.

“Net neutrality protects and promotes a fast, fair and open internet,” Ige’s office said in a statement. “It prohibits internet service providers from discriminating between content or users.”

After the December FCC decision, then-state Attorney General Doug Chin, who recently became the state’s lieutenant governor, joined 22 state attorneys general who filed a lawsuit to block the FCC from what they called the “illegal rollback of net neutrality.”

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Opponents of net neutrality say it stifles innovation because it prevents companies from choosing their preferred methods of operating.

Proponents of net neutrality argue it keeps everyone on a level playing field in terms of access to information and availability of web service.