“Protecting a free and open Internet will be one of the most important policy decisions we make,” said Sen. Lesser
BOSTON — Senator Eric P. Lesser voted with the State Senate on Thursday to pass a bill defending Net Neutrality provisions by holding Internet service providers accountable for the service they provide.
The measure is a response to actions by the Trump Administration’s Federal Communications Commission, which rolled back federal guidelines put in place by the Obama Administration to guarantee that Internet service providers could not change customers’ Internet speeds based on their subscription package or other factors.
The bill, S. 2610 An Act promoting net neutrality and consumer protection, creates a registry of Internet service providers and requires the Department of Telecommunications and Cable to grade them based on their service quality and consumer privacy practices. It also requires Internet service providers to make annual disclosures about their network management practices, privacy policies and other measures.
“When history looks back, protecting a free and open Internet will be one of the most important policy decisions we make,” said Sen. Lesser. “This bill creates a ‘Kelley Blue Book’ for the Internet that will grade Internet service providers and allow consumers to hold them accountable for any moves to slow down service by throttling or blocking access to certain sites.”
Sen. Lesser served on the Senate’s Special Committee on Net Neutrality and helped author the legislation with its primary sponsor, Sen. Cindy Creem.
Under the bill, the Department of Telecommunications and Cable will create a “Massachusetts Net Neutrality and Consumer Privacy Seal” that allows Internet service providers to demonstrate that they uphold net neutrality commitments, including equal and open Internet access to customers and an opt-out option for customers to control third-party access to their information.
States are severely restricted by the federal government on the extent to which they can regulate the Internet. This bill, if passed by the House and signed by the Governor, would implement some of the strongest Internet consumer protections in the country.
To guarantee Net Neutrality nationwide, the U.S. Congress must enshrine it in federal law.
The bill, which passed the State Senate unanimously, now goes to the State House of Representatives for consideration.