April 22, 2018

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US Mayors Join Net Neutrality Cause

As of this past Monday, 11 US mayors have signed a pledge defending “net neutrality” in their cities and towns. The pledge, titled “Cities Open Internet Pledge,” was introduced by Mayors Bill de Blasio of New York, Ted Wheeler of Portland, and Steve Adler of Austin at this year’s South By Southwest in Austin, Texas.

As discussed in a recent post, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recently published the final rule repealing net neutrality, the open internet framework that restricted internet service providers (ISPs) from prioritizing, slowing, or blocking data and information flowing through their networks. The FCC is replacing net neutrality with a network management disclosure regime that will require ISPs to disclose information about network management practices, performance characteristics, and commercial terms of service.

Under the pledge, to the extent it’s within their control, the mayors are promising that their cities will, among other things, procure internet services from ISPs that do not block, throttle, or provide paid prioritization of content on sites that the cities use to provide services and information to their residents; ensure an open internet connection associated with any free or subsidized internet service offered to city residents; and not block, throttle, or engage in paid prioritization when providing free public Wi-Fi to their residents.

In addition to the pledge, states have started to take action in support of net neutrality. Washington became the first state to pass a net neutrality law, which prohibits ISPs operating in Washington from blocking or throttling legal content or favoring content due to paid prioritization. Oregon also just passed a law that will ban ISPs engaging in such behavior from doing business with state agencies. Maryland is debating similar legislation.

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About this Author

Donald G. Shelkey, Attorney, Morgan Lewis Law FIrm

Doneld G. Shelkey is an associate in Morgan Lewis's Business and Finance Practice. Mr. Shelkey focuses his practice on representing clients in a variety of commercial contract and licensing transactions, including the outsourcing of information technology and business process functions. He recently assisted in a large business process outsourcing for a large global pharmaceutical company. Mr. Shelkey routinely assists in the negotiation of commercial transactions for leading foreign and domestic companies in the steel industry. He also has a strong background in the e-...

Katherine B. O'Keefe, Morgan Lewis, Cloud Computing Technology Lawyer, Commercial Transactions Attorney

Katherine B. O’Keefe is part of a team that handles critical commercial transactions that enable our clients to run their business operations effectively. The team is focused on technology transactions, including licensing, services, and alliance deals that involve emerging technologies such as cloud computing, software as a service (SaaS), and data analytics. Our outsourcing lawyers assist clients in managing their online presence, from website development, hosting, and maintenance; to privacy and use policies; to data breach and retention issues.