Rooney looks to protect consumers with net neutrality bills

TRENTON, N.J. – With the federal government’s net neutrality repeal set to become law in less than two months, Assemblyman Kevin J. Rooney introduced two bills earlier this month ensuring consumers have equal access to the internet.

The first bill (A3339) requires internet providers to commit to providing at least broadband service to its entire service area before allowing paid prioritization of content. The second (A3337) requires cable companies to automatically provide its fastest internet available to municipalities for free.

“The Internet has become a public utility. Access is a basic need and the freedom to have all content equally available is vital for consumers,” said Rooney (R-Bergen). “Net neutrality levels the playing field. Without it, service providers will be able to slow down internet speeds or, at worst, totally block access to certain websites they consider their competition. Using the public as pawns is unacceptable.”

Rooney vehemently opposed the Federal Communications Commission’s December reversal of regulations implemented two years ago ensuring internet providers treat all content equally. The commission’s ruling prohibits state and local governments from creating their own net neutrality laws and regulations. The repeal takes effect April 23, 2018.

“Unfortunately, states are prohibited from developing net neutrality rules,” said Rooney. “But that doesn’t mean consumers have to settle for a worse product, or settle for more cumbersome government as a result.”

Fifteen states have introduced net neutrality legislation while 22 states have sued to re-enact net neutrality.