Washington state maintains net neutrality after FCC rollback

Washington state is now the only place in the country that requires net neutrality. By rule, internet service providers here are not allowed to throttle traffic to specific websites, block content or offer sites speed priority for a fee.

That's because the Federal Communications Commission's rollback of national net neutrality provisions took effect Monday. The FCC put net neutrality protections in place in 2015, but with new conservative leadership last year, the commission voted to roll back those protections in December. So this session, Washington state lawmakers passed a law with bipartisan support to maintain protections if and when a nationwide repeal took effect.

Still, it isn't likely customers in every other state will suddenly lose access to Netflix unless they pony up for a more expensive internet package. Most large internet providers, including Comcast, Verizon and AT&T, currently have language on their websites saying they don't throttle or block legal sites or accept money for prioritization.

But that's little consolation to net neutrality advocates, who warn that corporate policies could easily change, especially when it comes to favoring a product an internet company offers over those of a competitor.

The Senate voted to reconsider the FCC's decision in May, and there's still an effort to get the House to vote to do the same, but it doesn't appear likely to get support from Republicans, including Eastern Washington Republican Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, who has said she supports an open internet but believes the net neutrality policy was flawed.

Washington Sen. Maria Cantwell, a Democrat, called out House Speaker Paul Ryan Tuesday, tweeting, "The Washington state legislature voted in a bipartisan fashion to protect #NetNeutrality. How about the U.S. House, @SpeakerRyan?"

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