New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order on Wednesday in a bid to keep net neutrality in the state, multiple news outlets report.
The order, which comes after the Federal Communications Commission voted to overturn longstanding net neutrality rules, would require any internet service providers in New York who have state contracts — or who are wanting to do business within the state — to continue abiding by the previous net neutrality rules, The Verge recently reported on its website.
Cuomo said he signed the order to “ensure that the internet remains free and open to all,” the New York Daily News reports. This executive order follows in the footsteps of Montana’s Gov. Steve Bullock, Cuomo’s fellow Democrat, who on Monday issued a similar mandate in his state.
Cuomo’s executive order would essentially block the FCC’s mandated overturn of net neutrality in New York. It would provide safeguards that the previous federal net neutrality mandate allowed: “no blocking, throttling, or otherwise favoring content” according to the Verge. But many net neutrality advocates and others interested in the issue worry that Cuomo’s executive order may not stand.
In the FCC’s overturn of net neutrality, the Verge reports, a specific provision was included that would block individual states from making their own rules. This eliminates the possibility of states passing anything that was covered under the 2015 net neutrality bill signed by former President Barack Obama. The provision also specifies that states cannot issue orders that “pass anything the FCC mentioned but didn’t pass in this new order” or mandate anything that would “make life more difficult” for internet service providers, the Verge reports.
But that does not mean net neutrality advocates should give up hope.
Last week, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman joined attorney generals from 22 other states in filing a lawsuit against the FCC. The lawsuit, if won, would block the FCC’s actions, making net neutrality the law of the land once again.
Many members of New York City’s tech industry released a statement Wednesday complimenting and thanking Gov. Cuomo for signing the executive order keeping net neutrality within the state. Julie Samuels, executive director of Tech:NYC, is quoted in the release as saying that many small businesses and other tech startups often “rely on a free and open internet to succeed.” Samuels said that “while the FCC doesn’t recognize” this fact, “it is clear Governor Cuomo does.”