Governor takes steps to protect net neutrality in Hawaii

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Gov. David Ige is directing all state government agencies to contract for internet-related services only with providers who contractually agree to abide by net neutrality principals.

He signed an executive order, effective Monday, Feb. 5, as part of his pledge to protect net neutrality in Hawaii.

“An open internet is critically important to our people and our economy, connecting us to the rest of the world, increasing our commerce, fostering innovation, and adding to our economic growth. I have worked with my cabinet members, members of the House, and other stakeholders to protect the integrity of this critical resource,” said Ige.

On Dec. 13, 2017, the Federal Communications Commission voted to end net neutrality rules.

Under the rules, internet service providers were required to treat all online content the same. They could not deliberately speed up or slow down traffic from specific websites or apps, nor could they put their own content at an advantage over rivals.

In the absence of a firm ban, providers are required to publicly disclose any instance of blocking, throttling or paid prioritization.

Many state lawmakers have also spoken in support of maintaining net neutrality in Hawaii, and are considering their own legislative action.

If it becomes law, House Bill 1995 would regulate broadband internet service providers and establish a task force to examine the costs and benefits of creating a state-owned public utility company to provide broadband internet service.

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