It appears that Montana Governor Steve Bullock isn’t willing to wait for the net neutrality legal fights to proceed. Most states that are fighting the FCC’s net neutrality repeal are counting on many lawsuits or legislative measures to help overturn the decision, but it may take years to process.
Montana Governor Steve Bullock just signed an executive order requiring that all internet service providers with a Montana government contract from July 1st and on honor the principles of net neutrality for any custom within the state, New York Times reports. Most major provides like Charter, Verizon and AT&T have government contracts, this would force them to treat all traffic fairly regardless of what the FCC enforces.
In addition to signing the executive order, Bullock is suggesting that other states who have backed net neutrality follow a similar path. “This is a simple step,” Bullock said in a statement, and added that “we can’t wait for folks in Washington DC to come to their senses and reinstate these [neutrality] rules.”
Governor Bullock may have issued the order, but whether it sticks or not is a different ballgame. The FCC included specification in their repeal to prevent states from reinstating consumer protections through their own laws and regulations. Bullock and his advisors have bet that the executive order on government contracts is a loophole that will help them implement these rules. This isn’t exactly a law, and it’s just regulating government contracts, not providers themselves directly. ISPs can throttle and block traffic all they want, but they won’t be allowed to get government business, should they choose to.