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Governor Bullock Implements 1st of its Kind Net Neutrality Protections

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Bullock first governor in the nation to implement action to safeguard internet freedom

Governor Steve Bullock today signed an executive order to protect net neutrality in Montana by requiring that successful recipients of state contracts adhere to internet neutrality principles.

Standing alongside a group of computer science students at the same high school he attended growing up, Governor Bullock said,“for as long as you, or I, or anyone in this room has used the internet, we’ve had certain expectations about how things work. We’ve had access to a free and open internet. But a free and open internet is no longer guaranteed. The loss of internet neutrality principles threatens the future of the students standing in this very room.”

“There has been a lot of talk around the country about how to respond to the recent decision by Federal Communications Commission to repeal net neutrality rules, which keep the internet free and open. It’s time to actually do something about it,”said Governor Bullock. “This is a simple step states can take to preserve and protect net neutrality. We can’t wait for folks in Washington DC to come to their senses and reinstate these rules.”

Photo Credit: Governor Steve Bullock

As the first governor in the country to implement action in the wake of the FCC’s decision to repeal net neutrality rules, Governor Bullock invited other governors and statehouses to join him. Governor Bullock’s administration will offer the framework to other states who wish to follow.

“To every governor and every legislator in every statehouse across the country, and to every small business and every Fortune 500 company that wants a free and open internet when they buy services: I will personally email this to you,” Bullock continued.

The executive order notably sets the terms on which the State of Montana will be making purchases and makes a preference for a free and open internet clear. The State of Montana is a significant purchaser of internet services.

“When the FCC repealed its net neutrality rules, it said consumers should choose. The State of Montana is one of the biggest consumers of internet services in our state. Today we’re making our choice clear: we want net neutrality,” Bullock said. “It’s good government, and our citizens who use online services rely on it.”

The order states that “the free and open exchange of information, secured by a free and open internet, has never been more essential to modern social, commercial and civic life,” and that “Montana citizens rely on a free and open internet to meet the world.”

The order directs that to receive a contract from the State of Montana for providing telecommunications services, the service provider must not block lawful content, throttle, impair or degrade lawful internet traffic on the basis of internet content, engage in paid prioritization, or unreasonably interfere or disadvantage the users’ ability to select, access, and use broadband internet access service.

STATE OF MONTANA
OFFICE OF THE GOVERNOR
EXECUTIVE ORDER No. 3-2018

EXECUTIVE ORDER PROVIDING FOR
INTERNET NEUTRALITY PRINCIPLES IN STATE PROCUREMENT

WHEREAS, the free and open exchange of information, secured by a free and open internet, has never been more essential to modern social, commercial, and civic life;

WHEREAS, Montanans expect and rely on the traditional principle that internet service providers will not pick and choose what content they can see—rather, Montanans expect that their internet service providers will be “neutral” and abide by principles commonly referred to as “internet neutrality”;

WHEREAS, guided by principles of internet neutrality, the information society and Montana’s
economy have flourished;

WHEREAS, Montana citizens rely on a free and open internet to meet the world—to learn, to
entertain, to make informed personal choices about their families and to make public choices
about our society;

WHEREAS, Montana businesses rely on a free and open internet to enter new markets, to gain
new insights, to recruit, to compete, and to grow—few changes in human communications have
revolutionized commerce so quickly;

WHEREAS, educational institutions in Montana rely on a free and open internet to provide
Montanans with world-class educational opportunities;

WHEREAS, as federal regulators recently illustrated, a free and open internet is not
guaranteed—it is susceptible to corporate and political degradation, and its protection requires
constant vigilance by consumers, market participants, and governments alike;

WHEREAS, the loss of internet neutrality principles threatens to increase the costs of accessing
and sharing information for people and for businesses alike;

WHEREAS, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has argued that violations of
internet neutrality principles may violate state competition and fair trade practices laws, which
requires the vigilance and attention of state governments;

WHEREAS, many internet service providers, including significant broadband and mobile
internet services providers in Montana, have made public pledges to adhere to certain internet
neutrality principles in the wake of changes by federal regulators;

WHEREAS, the State of Montana is a significant purchaser of internet services;

WHEREAS, the purpose of this Executive Order is to ensure the efficient procurement of goods
and services for the State of Montana; the uniform application of internet neutrality principles in
Montana is closely related to the delivery of predictable, stable, high quality internet service for
the State, and this Executive Order is an essential response for state procurement policy and local
economic needs;

WHEREAS, the State of Montana has a distributed data storage model and thousands of
employees across the state—paid prioritization and throttling could fundamentally impact state
employees’ ability to conduct business; and

WHEREAS, many State of Montana government services are exclusively online; throttling and
paid prioritization could limit Montana citizens’ ability to receive government services and
dramatically deepen the “digital divide” as well as exacerbate challenges our poorest citizens
have in accessing government help.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, STEVE BULLOCK, Governor of the State of Montana, pursuant to
the authority vested in me as Governor under the Constitution and the laws of the State of
Montana, do hereby order and direct the Department of Administration to incorporate into the
state procurement process for internet, data, and telecommunications services (collectively,
“telecommunications services”) criteria requiring that successful recipients of state contracts
adhere to internet neutrality principles.

After July 1, 2018, to receive a contract from the State of Montana for the provision of
telecommunications services, a service provider must publicly disclose to all of its customers in
the State of Montana (including but not limited to the State itself): accurate information
regarding the network and transport management practices (including cellular data and wireless
broadband transport), performance and commercial terms of its broadband internet access
services sufficient for consumers to make informed choices regarding use of such services and
for content, application, service, and device providers to develop, market, and maintain internet
offerings.

After July 1, 2018, to receive a contract from the State of Montana for the provision of
telecommunications services, a service provider must not, with respect to any consumer in the
State of Montana (including but not limited to the State itself):

1. Block lawful content, applications, services, or nonharmful devices, subject to reasonable
network management that is disclosed to the consumer;

2. Throttle, impair or degrade lawful internet traffic on the basis of internet content,
application, or service, or use of a nonharmful device, subject to reasonable network
management that is disclosed to the consumer;

3. Engage in paid prioritization; or

4. Unreasonably interfere with or unreasonably disadvantage:

a. End users’ ability to select, access, and use broadband internet access service or
the lawful internet content, applications, services, or devices of their choice; or

b. Edge providers’ ability to make lawful content, applications, services, or devices
available to end users.

By March 1, 2018, the Department of Administration shall prepare such policies and other
guidance, and issue such orders as are deemed necessary and appropriate to carry out this
Executive Order and to monitor its enforcement. The Department shall resolve any dispute over
the definition of terminology used in this Executive Order.

Each contracting department or agency that procures telecommunications services shall
cooperate with the Department of Administration in implementing this Executive Order and
provide such information and assistance as the Department of Administration may require in the
performance of its functions under this Executive Order. Agencies must receive approval from
the Department of Administration before procuring internet services, including cellular data
and/or wireless broadband internet services.

This Order is effective immediately

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