ISPs wanting to conduct business with New Jersey must promise to treat all traffic on the internet equally. New Jersey, in doing this, becomes the most recent state to enact net neutrality regulations of its own following the dismantling by the Federal Communications Commissions of the regulations imposed during the Obama presidency.
On Monday, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed a statewide executive order that requires internet service providers that want to do business with the state to adhere to principles of net neutrality. This means providers of broadband will not be allowed to throttle traffic or to create fast lanes on the internet.
In a prepared statement, the New Jersey governor said that while not everything is agreed with that is seen online, that does not mean it is justifiable to block free, uninterrupted, as well as indiscriminate flow of information. The statement added that it does not give certain individuals or companies the right to pay to get to the front of the internet line.
Net neutrality supporters have said that the rules, which in 2015 were adopted during the President Barack Obama administration, are needed to ensure companies providing internet do not abuse their power as internet gatekeepers. Companies such as Google, Twitter and Facebook supported the rules in 2015, but providers of broadband have said the rules were onerous and hurt investment. Broadband providers such as Comcast, Verizon and AT&T support the repeal by the FCC.
With the executive order of Monday, New Jersey joins New York and Montana in making net neutrality policies of their own after the vote in December by the FCC to eliminate the regulations of net neutrality, which required that all traffic on the internet be treated equally.
On Monday, New Jersey joined over 20 other U.S. states in a lawsuit filed against the FCC related to the repeal of the regulations governing net neutrality.
Gurbir Grewal the Attorney General of New Jersey said the state was committed to taking the necessary legal action it can to maintain the internet rights of consumers in New Jersey, and challenge the misguided attack of the federal government on an open and free internet.
Grewal’s statement continued by saying the state’s position is that the FCC acted against evidence it was present and arbitrarily when repealing the net neutrality provisions.