In the News: Christopher Mitchell
January 22nd, 2018
Media Outlet: Associated Press
Cities and states across the country are angry at the Federal Communications Commission’s plan to repeal net neutrality protections guaranteeing Americans access to an Internet unthrottled by giant Internet companies.
So, when Montana’s Governor Steve Bullock (D) delivered an order “to bar telecommunications companies from receiving state contracts if they interfere with internet traffic or favor higher-paying sites or apps” Associated Press reporter Matthew Brown reached out to the Institute for Local Self-Reliance’s Community Broadband Networks initiative director Christopher Mitchell for comment. Christopher’s contributions are embedded below:
Attorneys from more than 20 states and the District of Columbia have sued to block the repeal. State legislatures in New York, California and elsewhere have introduced bills promoting net neutrality, but Bullock is the first governor to taken action, according to the National Conference on State Legislatures.
Bullock’s order applies to any company seeking a state contract for telecommunications services after July 1. At that time, in order to receive a state contract, companies must not unreasonably interfere with internet users’ ability to access the content of their choice.
It was unclear from the order what would happen to companies with existing contracts. Bullock told the state Department of Administration to craft policies and guidance by March 1 to put the order into effect, and he invited governors and lawmakers across the United States to duplicate his action.
If other states follow suit, it could have a significant impact — both on large telecommunications companies with state contracts and smaller companies trying to get into the market, said Christopher Mitchell with the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, which supports net neutrality.
“States spend a lot of money on telecommunications contracts,” Mitchell said. “We’re seeing a number of states interested in doing something like this.”