Maui News

Rep. Ing Proposes Net Neutrality Bill

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State Representative Kaniela Saito Ing.

State Representative Kaniela Saito Ing will propose legislation to explore the feasibility of public or community-owned, high-speed broadband in Hawaiʻi.

While lawmakers from other states are taking action to reverse the FCC’s recent repeal of net neutrality, Rep. Ing says “this is the first positive proposal that will not likely face federal preemption.”

Rep. Ing called the FCC’s ruling to end the Obama-era policy of net neutrality, “a disgrace to free speech in our modern world.”

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“It is about more than just slower Netflix and a pricier Facebook. When monopolistic corporations control the internet, they control our ability to speak out against them and organize a resistance,” said Rep. Ing (Kīhei, Wailea, Mākena).

“However, Democrats currently do not have the votes in the current GOP Congress to reverse yet another backward policy by the Trump Administration. This means states like Hawaiʻi must act now,” he said.

Rep. Ing said that some cities, such as Chattanooga, “have already shown community-owned high-speed internet attracts new technology businesses and provides citizens with the some of the nation’s fastest, most-reliable internet at affordable rates.”

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“Just like roadways and electricity, we know that community-owned and operated internet is the only way to ensure net neutrality for years to come. This is the future,” he said.

Meantime, Governor David Ige issued a statement on Friday following the FCC decision saying:

“My administration has long been and will continue to be a strong proponent of maintaining net neutrality, despite the Federal Communications Commission’s recent repeal of neutrality rules. We had the foresight to require neutrality in agreements with Internet Service Providers (ISPs). Attorney General Doug Chin and Office of Consumer Protection director Stephen Levins have already started their strong opposition to the repeal, and I am committed to ensuring that all Hawai‘i residents have the benefit of an open platform of innovation, education and free expression. I will be working with stakeholders to protect the integrity of this critical resource.

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