Montana Releases Fact Sheet on Net Neutrality Executive Order

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Gov Steve Bullock (D-MT) signed an executive order to protect network neutrality on Jan 22. But with questions raised about whether Gov Bullock is exceeding his authority, the governor's legal office prepared a fact sheet that it's distributing to anyone curious about potential legal challenges to the executive order.

Internet service providers are free to violate net neutrality if they only serve non-government customers—they just can't do so and expect to receive state contracts. "Companies that don't like it don't have to do business with the State—nothing stops ISPs from selling dumpy Internet plans in Montana if they insist," the fact sheet says. The FCC's repeal of net neutrality rules attempts to preempt states and localities from issuing their own similar rules. But Bullock's executive order doesn't directly require ISPs to follow net neutrality rules. Instead, ISPs that accept contracts to provide Internet service to any state agency must agree to abide by net neutrality principles throughout the state. Gov Bullock's fact sheet is titled, "Why Isn't Montana's Executive Order Preempted?" and it offers numerous answers to that question. "Through the order, the State of Montana acts as a consumer—not a regulator," the fact sheet says. "Because there's no mandate, and no new regulations, there's certainly no federal preemption. Companies that don't like Montana's proposed contract terms don't have to do business with the State."

Montana Releases Fact Sheet on Net Neutrality Executive Order Montana Net Neutrality Fact Sheet