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Colorado Net Neutrality Bill Dies in Committee

The legislation would have disqualified ISPs from receiving state Universal Service Fund high-cost support money for deploying broadband unless they agreed not to block, throttle or prioritize for pay

DENVER — A Colorado bill has died in committee that would have disqualified ISPs, including Colorado municipal broadband providers, from receiving state Universal Service Fund high-cost support money for deploying broadband unless they agreed not to block, throttle or prioritize for pay.

HB18-1312 would also have required refunding money if an ISP engaged in such practices, and would have given a government contracting preference for ISPs that do not engage in those practices.

According to the Colorado legislature’s website, action on the bill was indefinitely postponed by the Senate Committee on State, Veterans & Military Affairs, in this case the issue being a “state” affair.

ISPs lobbied against the bill as yet another in a patchwork of proposed or adopted state regs when what is needed is national legislation.

States are attempting to recreate the FCC’s net neutrality rules rolled back in a Dec. 14, 2017 decision, though that decision also preempts such state efforts. That means a court fight looms where legislation has succeeded in being passed or the governor has signed an executive order requiring net neutrality in government broadband contracts.

“This issue is about what is best for Colorado’s consumers and taxpayers,” said Rep. Chris Hansen, who has been a driving force behind the bill. “[D]o they want to pay more for an unequal internet, or do they want the internet to remain free and open to all? It is important for states to lead in the absence of action by Congress, and we will continue to do so here in Denver. “

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