Montana’s New Net Neutrality Executive Order- State Leaders Respond
An executive order from Governor Bullock this week has instituted a new net neutrality rule for Montana, but it only applies to companies that receive state contracts. The Department of Administration rather than the Public Service Commission will be responsible for ensuring that companies follow the new rule.
Congressman Greg Gianforte, says he’s glad that the FCC did away with its net neutrality requirements and accuses the governor of “wanting more regulation.”
"These net neutrality rules were put in place in 2015, they are heavy-handed restrictions," Gianforte said. "What they've actually done is they've reduced investment in rural infrastructure for broadband... so it's a step in the wrong direction. The ruling by the FCC just takes us back to the rules that encouraged rural internet infrastructure development and actually gave us the internet."
Legislator Daniel Zolnikov has had numerous bills before the legislature dealing with the internet and particularly internet freedom. He says he’s taking a wait and see approach to the executive order.
"This is a very clever loophole," Zolnikov said. "Throttling could either work out really positively or very negatively and I don't know what's going to happen. Blocking content is always bad. I'm going to watch nationally, of course, in the next year and as we walk back into session we'll see how working with Bullock's net Neutrality concept either helps people or hurts them."
Off-the-record interviews on Tuesday with many state agencies indicate a lot of uncertainty about how the law will impact the state. The order will only affect contracts forged after July 1 of this year.