Gov. Jay Inslee (D) signed a bill Monday afternoon forbidding internet service providers from blocking or throttling web content, or from charging websites for higher delivery speeds.
At least 25 other states are considering net neutrality bills, including California, Illinois, and NY. The law will prevent Big Telecom from slowing down internet access, prioritizing certain traffic, or censoring content online. In December, the FCC reversed these net neutrality rules and last month published its new order in the Federal Register.
Washington became the first state to pass its own laws governing Net neutrality, countering the USA government's repeal of national regulations preventing Internet service providers from blocking or throttling content. Washington also has authority to protect residents under its Consumer Protection Act.
As he has done frequently over the past year, Inslee took aim at President Donald Trump's administration, saying the decision by the Federal Communications Commission was "a clear case of the Trump administration favoring powerful corporate interests over the interests of millions of Washingtonians and Americans". "It's allowed the free flow of information and ideas in one of the greatest demonstrations of free speech in our history".
Because the FCC prohibited state laws from contradicting its decision, opponents of the Washington law have said it would lead to lawsuits. State attorneys general have sued to overturn the FCC's new rules.
The law will prohibit companies that offer internet services from blocking legal content, applications, services or non-harmful devices.
The state governments of New York, Montana, New Jersey, Vermont, California and Hawaii have sought to counteract the FCC deregulation with executive orders that set net neutrality principles for contracting of internet service, similar to Oregon's approach. There are also efforts by Democrats to undo the move in Congress.
The FCC is facing its own legal challenge from net neutrality supporters. The difference is that Washington's law will put new requirements on ISPs, and that violations will be enforceable thanks to the state's Consumer Protection Act.