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Montana becomes first state to implement net neutrality after FCC repeal (thehill.com)
1224 points by erict15 9 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 153 comments

The headline is a little misleading. The state is not implementing rules or regulations for net neutrality. It is simply requiring, as a condition of contracting with the state, that ISPs abide by the principles of net neutrality. If an ISP does not have any state contracts, it is free to do whatever it wants under the federal law.

Many jurisdictions attach such conditions to entering into a contract with the jurisdiction, ie paying a living wage, hiring a certain percentage of minorities, etc.

I live here and have some familiarity with the ISP landscape. I'm going to bet that all* ISPs operating in the state are going to have contracts with the state.

*Well, all ISPs of any consequence.

Hey Now! ...but that's fair, the little ISP's were already for Net Neutrality. *

* ISP Owner in MT

>* ISP Owner in MT

Same, until last year. We never had state customers and of course we ran traffic shaping that didn't look at source address.

Good to hear, since the FCC was so loud about a handful of small ISPs like yours being vaguely against the Title II rules.

Title II != net neutrality. Title II is a highly bureaucratic strong-oversight-in-all-things tool aimed at a completely different problem space, namely providing a legislative solution to the case-law-derived 1980s consent decrees with AT&T & IBM. It covers things that have nothing to do with what ISPs want to deal with as part of their businesses, and places the expensive burden of proof and compliance on the ISP. So yes, it makes sense that small ISPs would not want to compete with the AT&Ts and Comcasts of the world with their armies of compliance officers. You'd never see another small ISP formed again.

Instead Congress needs to create a separate Section III (or whatever) to address net neutrality specifically, and empower the FCC to act within that purview. The FCC does not get to decide on its own that it wants more authority than was previously granted it by Congress.

Congress (and the various involved presidents) deserve to have all the cannons aimed at them. As it stands, people directing their ire at the FCC chairs (on either side) are letting Congress get away with being irresponsible.

This is a common talking point against the FCC retaining Title II classification. While I don't disagree in principle, until Congress acts, Net Neutrality is only achievable in the US via Title II enforcement by the FCC. The FCC reclassifying ISPs as Title I without a corresponding push to have an alternative Net Neutrality plan in place was irresponsible, unethical, and against the will of the constituents of all parties. Ire at Congress for not acting is completely reasonable, but acting as if what the FCC did was in any way acceptable is not.

> and against the will of the constituents

It's Congress's job to be responsive to the will of the constituents, not the FCC. Congress has done a masterful job over the past several decades of outsourcing all the hard and potentially unpopular decisions to a regulatory body and then beating them up for their decisions.

> It covers things that have nothing to do with what ISPs want to deal with as part of their businesses, and places the expensive burden of proof and compliance on the ISP. So yes, it makes sense that small ISPs would not want to compete with the AT&Ts and Comcasts of the world with their armies of compliance officers. You'd never see another small ISP formed again.

The 2015 net neutrality rules applied Title II with forbearance. It left out those things you mention.

Partially applied laws are the building blocks of tyranny - Rule by law instead of rule of law.

> You'd never see another small ISP formed again.

Except the FCC was only enforcing the NN part of it.

Sure but if push came to shove, if a non-net-neutral approach became a profit center for an ISP, they could afford to jettison those contracts.

You would think the state of Montana would/could also put conditions on contracts for using municipal telephone poles in the state (since states have imposed the condition that, say, municipalities can't operate their own ISPs). You'd think but you think incorrectly given the way things work in the US.

Bootstrappy conservative state rolls up sleeves and delivers municipal/coop Internet after being forsaken by for-profit corporation. The news story almost writes itself.

I’m unable to find any financial issues with Montana’s budget, and their bond ratings appear to be adequate to receive a great interest rate in order to borrow for a build out.

The reason Montana is in the position they’re in is precisely because they don’t do stuff like that.

Take a look at California, a state that implements just about every idea under the sun without a care in the world for the tax payers’ money (latest example is Hyperloop). Not coincidentally, California is also a state that is broke, crime riddled, filled with toxic waste and pollution, just about burned to the ground (say what you want - that’s a result of bad land management), running out of drinking water, and just about every other thing you could cram into a B-rated dystopian movie.

Wish it was for Hyperloop research and implementation. We did pass a proposition for a $40 billion high speed rail system in 2008. Musk started thinking about the Hyperloop concept because when the plans for the California high speed rail came out, it was the slowest and most expensive high speed rail system on Earth. A decade later, no trains are running and the cost is up near $100 billion (who really knows what it would cost?).

Ah, thanks for the clarification. This over-budget high-speed rail is what I was attempting to refer to by Hyperloop. I forgot that Hyperloop was the new Musk idea.

Yeah, yeah, god it really sucks here, nobody should move to California. Thanks for helping to get the word out!

I must have spaced out. When did the state agree to build the hyperloop?

The states with the most violent crime? Alaska, Nevada, New Mexico, Tennessee, Louisiana, Arkansas, South Carolina, …. I'm not sure that your hypothesis checks out.

Are we talking about the same state here?

Twenty one states have enacted laws against municipal broadband, including ... Montana. The FCC under Obama overturned these. Given broadband providers now are effectively getting their wish-list, it seems like these laws may come back in force.


They may, except the FCC is also abandoning considerable authority by throwing away Title II, so it may not be able to overturn (or over-overturn, or whatever) those and other rules — and perhaps may not even be able to enforce its prohibition against state/city net neutrality rules.

This is kind of interesting considering the state did provide broadband service from 2010-2014:


The Program was funded through the State Broadband Initiative (SBI) program, administered by the U.S. Department of Commerce, National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). It ran from Jan 1, 2010 through Dec 31, 2014.

I'm guessing the funding either ran out, or the program was discontinued due to cost?

It's a conservative town rather than a whole state, but something like this?


The state will stay out of the ISP business. I already have a coop with fiber to my house and I'm out in the sticks. Not everyone in the state is that lucky, but that isn't a real Montana-like thing to do.

"they could afford to jettison those contracts"

Don't they have to have a contract with the state to have access to the cables? IE: any ISP would have a state contract. If it ceased those contracts, it wouldn't be able to function as an ISP.

No, those contracts are with cities and counties; the owners of the land that telephone poles sit on.

I like both Montana's plan, and this plan.

Also a Montanan and I second this opinion. We are a small state (population) with few ISP's, especially in the rural areas. I am sure they all do some sort of business with the State.

Yeah, I'm pretty sure my ISP is the only one in the county, so there is a good chance the serve the schools and government buildings.

So if they choose not to abide by net neutrality, the state will just do without internet service?

Seems like the state would be in the same place most consumers are, we don't like it, but there are no alternatives.

I'm not in Montana, but I'm close, and the thought of scaring away the only two realistic options I have for internet sounds... well it sounds intoxicating. I would love a disruption of service and for new things to start shaking out.

the interim would suck... but so what.

Two of the best ISPs in my area here in Montana are Montana owned. One is even a co-op. I don't think it would be too painful to have Charter or Century Link leave the state.

So then this would seem to be a good argument against the idea of Comcast or Century Link being a monopoly and a serious argument against the idea that net neutrality needs laws to enforce it.

Not in the least. There are still plenty of areas where there is only one option.

I am guessing (perhaps wrongly) that for most commercial addresses there are other options available for Internet service that do not rely on carriers which also serve residential customers. If the state can't get Comcast to agree to their terms, they might have to buy a different class of service than cheapo Comcast Business.

I hadn't considered that outcome, but it's certainly possible. However, state governments are large customers to most vendors, so I would think some ISP would step up and get the business.

Has there ever been a successful telecom that did not have government contracts?

I may be wrong, but what about Google Fiber?

He said "successful". Google Fiber gave up.

They were still successful in multiple areas. Also, AFAIK, they didn’t “give up”; They switched from fighting over poles to microtrecnching and wireless.

Would you consider small (local) WISPs that are profitable succesful?

Do we know if this can be federally overturned under the almighty Commerce Clause?

> The headline is a little misleading.

The headline is clickbait.

its pretty routine and accepted policy.

you should see the conditions San Francisco city attaches to its contracts.

Good job Montana. If I recall correctly, the FCC ruling also prevented states from creating their own NN laws. I am wondering if there will be litigation around in executive order.

I love the fact that the announcement couches the order in the state's prerogative to consume services that it deems best fit its needs, which is very slick politically, however that works legally.

I think that the state can do that, yes. It can't say "you have to do this to do business in our state", but it can say "you have to do this to do business with us, the state government".

The alternative is that the federal government can dictate which businesses the state governments do business with, which is, to put it mildly, probably not a valid use of federal power.

I think we're far beyond valid use of federal power at this point ?

Definitely going to be a number of lawsuits regarding this. With as many states doing it or planning on doing it. But I think the only way it's going to happen is if the ISPs sue the states doing it. I'd be surprised if the FCC tries to sue the states over it.

It'll be interesting to see what propagandic angle the lobbyist and purchased politicians take if ISPs sue states over this. When it was anti-NN, the language was "Defeating Federal Overreach to Allow an Open Internet."

Indeed. “Defeating States Rights to Allow an Open Internet” has a very different ring to it.

Yeah, California and New York will implement this ina flash if they can which will force NN in major isps.

Yeah. It's depressing. The start of the ruling made me think, "This could be a triumph for federalism - states can still pass their own laws and we can put Net Neutrality to the test." Then I read the rest of the ruling. So much for states' rights! It's... still the Democrats' fault, right?



> Oh and Montana will vote Republican again next election as you well know

Montana's current governor, Steve Bullock[1], is a Democrat. He was the incumbent in the last election, but initially won his seat from the outgoing Brian Schweitzer[2], another Democrat.

Going by the gubernatorial seat, Montana's been a blue state since 2005.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steve_Bullock_(American_politi...

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brian_Schweitzer

More interested in what Montana's representatives voted in Washington about NN. Oh and Trump is going to be reelected. Calling it.

What vote? There hasn't been a vote on Net Neutrality. If there had, it seems that at least Tester would have voted in favor, considering he's demanded that it be continued repeatedly to the FCC.

Did you imagine that a vote had been conducted, and then further imagine that the obviously Republican Senators from Montana voted against it?

...Montana will vote Republican...

It's almost as if this issue has no obvious link to simplistic partisanship, but rather is a pretty good measure of official corruption.

It's really ironic that the Comcasts of the world were probably hoping to get a free pass to do whatever they want, when in reality they will end up with different rules for each state increasing the cost of compliance.

Montana could also structure their rules such that any ISP with a connection terminating at a state government must apply their NN rules to any data transferred through the state while it is in-state, even if the source and destination are outside of the state.

Now that would be a regulatory nightmare.

Good point. Not to mention that it can switch back and forth as the political winds change, making it hard to keep any lucrative deals going for very long.

NN might be one of those things that companies just don't violate for all kinds of reasons at many different levels; regardless of federal mandates.

We should probably get used to fighting at many different levels. Freedom requires eternal vigilance; not a really great FCC chairperson.

Doubtful. Comcast only need a small number of states without these rules to make create a miserable user-experience for Netflix/Youtube and then word of mouth will do the rest. After that, whatever sums Comcast have to pay their lawyers will pale in comparison to whatever they can extort from the Netflix/Google.

If any states had legitimate balls they would use this as an opportunity to justify funding a public fiber network that anyone can plug in to.

So, as someone with no knowledge of the landscape in Montana, I'm wondering: how many ISPs are there who would pick Montana state contracts over the ability to throttle and prioritize traffic?

One of our main telecoms (Blackfoot) is a co-op that rose from the ashes of Bell abandoning the state entirely, so definitely they would.

My friend made an app that lets you peek at the State Checkbook and see what ISP's are getting checks.


Looks like it's gone. The domain is for sale.

Whomp whomp. If I recall, it was Centurylink and Charter who got the biggest checks.

Montana. Now that's an unexpected source for business regulation.

Why do you say this?

I ask because, I am from Montana and I often find outside knowledge of Montana consists of "they have an unlimited speed on the highway/interstate" (which hasn't been true for quite sometime) mindset applied to any information about Montana. It is usually viewed as a red state, but it's a different kind of red than what you find on the coasts. Our governor is blue and our state was essentially founded by socialists. Our state is usually pretty vocal on political matters and protecting the public (our most famous and easiest example of course being protection of public lands).

Not OP but I had the same thought as them. I know I was expecting the first state to be WA or CA, or some other heavily/known blue state, not a (somewhat random) midwestern state. If I were to research it further I'm sure it wouldn't come as much of a surprise, but my initial and uneducated reaction was shock.

Montana is considered a Western state, not midwest. I agree it's somewhat surprising, but Montana is dominated (population-wise) by relatively left-leaning population centers. I'd consider it to be a libertarian leaning western state similar to Colorado but without the insanely religious component of Colorado Springs.

I agree with this to an extent. The red has a Libertarian tint, but even the Libertarians in Montana are different. The best way I've been able to identify with it over the years is consider myself an independent.

And without the CA transplants who (I'm generalizing here) lean left to the point where "libretarian" is not a good descriptor for any government they have a meaningful say in.

Montana might be a western state but as far as most people on the coasts (also generalizing) care or know (is there a difference) if you don't have saltwater coastline or a big city you're a backwards flyover state with nothing much going on.

Actually, most of the "transplants" that go to Montana or Idaho are those who are going because they believe the state is "too liberal" or that there's "too much crime".

Sure, but that doesn't mean they don't bring values that don't fit there.

I actually sat next to a woman and her son at a Seahawks game in Seattle; they live in Pocatello, ID but had moved there from Redding, CA a handful of years ago. Some amusing (to me) bullet points from our conversation:

* She wanted to make sure they went to an afternoon game because she didn't want to be in "the city" after dark

* As a reaction to moving to Pocatello, "when we moved to Idaho, I thought WE were conservative, but..."

* She was successful in her career and her husband was a stay at home dad and had difficulty meeting people/making friends as someone not in the workforce and who didn't 'fit in' to the social fabric of non-working folks (Eg, female homemakers).

They might even be more conservative than the average Idahoan, but it's not a binary thing; likely they've got "California values" they didn't even realize they held, but folks in Idaho could spot a mile a way.

The same way (say) cops in populated areas of California might be VERY pro-law-and-order and consider themselves very conservative, but not bat an eye over LGBT issues that might rile up a bible-thumper from the midwest who is otherwise a moderate.

You're probably not wrong about "most people on the coasts" (I'm from WA and live in CA) but I think those of us on the west coast are far less inclined than east coasters to dismiss Western states like UT, MT, WY, NV, CO, etc, as "midwest". I think to the east coast it's often "somewhere over there in the middle" and not realizing how far west they really are, and how similar in many ways the culture is to the Pacific states, particularly the inland areas of said states. The same way I think all those east coast states are "little states somewhere way over there" :)

I work in a city on the east coast. About 1/4th of the people I work with are from or have lived on the west coast.

I notice no difference.

When I think of Montana politics the first thing I remember is this: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2017/05/2...

For better or worse this makes me think of Montana as a pretty red state unlikely to pass regulation like NN.

Yes that was our most recent national claim to fame in politics. Gianforte is not a good representation of Montana politicians. He is a party boy and his campaign was nearly a replica of Trump's in a time of political uncertainty. He went up against a very weak Democratic candidate and a very week Libertarian candidate. That event also took place on the night before going to the polls after most Montanan's had sent in their ballots through the mail. When it boils down to being a red state, you'll see more party line voters. However if you were to sit down with these red staters you'd find they're mighty different.

Just to be clear, the majority of Montana's do not vote by mail. It's just about 1/3 of the population. And only 2/3 of those absentee ballots had been returned when that news hit.

So still ~75% of the population voted with that knowledge and put him in office.


Well, it actually dovetails into NN quite well. Montanans do not like outsiders, for some definition of outsider, f'n with them.

Being red isn't the governing factor on which side of NN you fall on. Current FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworce (D) https://youtu.be/Ja6MW94RaIQ?t=3m40s put it nicely.

Greg isn’t from Montana* and is about as far as you can get from the typical Montanan imho. Curiously though he is an actual hacker.

*He’s a transplant like many who live here including me.

He's from New Jersey -- my alma mater (Stevens Tech) named a building after him; alumni basically rebelled and withheld donations until his name was removed.

Haha wow, well sorry to burst your bubble but he essentially succeeded at the same goal at MSU.

A pretty solo point. I think that story is more about the candidate than any particular party. Note one of the comments in the article:

Both papers, the Missoulian and the Billings Gazette, issued scathing denunciations of Gianforte.

He did win though, so while there may have been unusual circumstances suggested by other commenters - he had some support of the people of the state.

There were a lot of votes cast before the incident, so the outcome might have been different had the incident happened sooner.

This is the most salient point -- Montana has one of the largest, if not the largest, vote-by-mail operations in the US, so ballots were probably cast and posted a few days before the election.

It is not the most salient point. I personally know several folks that still voted for him in person after it happened. Getting a Republican into office was the number 1 priority and pushing down a reporter was hardly crossing a line when they already distrust the media.

Oregon only uses the mail for voting so Montana isn't the largest.

Because people vote party lines. If your goal is Republicans in office, then a little assault isn't gonna get in the way of that.

Montana is very purple (and very weird politically). Rural red areas but most of our population centers are wildly blue. Democrat governor, 1 Dem Senator. There's no real religious right, just a libertarian right.

'wildly blue' is incorrect about the population centers. If that were correct the vote would have gone to Trump given how the vast majority of the population is in the cities.

Look at the election results from Missoula, Great Falls, Billings, etc and then compare them to San Francisco (a place actually wildly blue).

The weird thing about ISPs is that whether or not they are effectively a monopoly is location dependent. It's probably safe to assume that a higher than average percentage of people in Montana have access to one or fewer broadband services. I wonder if that factors in.

I generally assume that Democrats are more concentrated in cities, which generalizes to states with high rural population percentages being Republican.

I don't know why this got downvoted, this is a pretty common theme across America. Look at the Alabama senate race and pretty much every race in North Carolina for examples. This, as well as gerrymandering, has lead to the disproportions in the house and state governments. Democrats being concentrated makes it much easier to have close races in terms of total votes cast per party, but disproportionate representation.


Don't know why you're getting down voted because that guy was onto something. He wanted a pickup too, which is a requirement for residency.

Its being downvoted because it brings nothing to the conversation.

Montana has an interesting history. There were stories that said that Montana statehood was delayed by 25 years due to support of the south during the civil war.

Jeanette Rankin, the first female member of congress, was elected twice, in time to be the sole vote against entering WWI and WWII. She was a pacifist and a Progressive Republican.

So while small in population, there might be more diversity of opinion than you might think.

(Full disclosure: 3rd generation Montana citizen, living the expatriate life in Bridgeport, IL)

Yes! And the history of far left labor movements like the IWW (“Wobblies”) in MT is interesting too.

Butte, for example, has historically been very blue collar, socially conservative / Irish Catholic, and left wing in a “you can’t scare me, I’m sticking to the union” kind of way.

Something like 13% of Missoula County voted Green Party in 2000.

Way I see it, MT has a mix of hippy-left, labor left, and truly moderate right wing politics that make it far more purple than red.

EDIT: Also a multi-generation Montanan with homesteading ancestors.

The US has forgotten just how rough those labor disputes were. I mean, for example, just how roughly treated striking workers were treated by company goon squads. Infamously, the Ludlow Massacre of 1913.


Sticking to the union is right! While working away from home on a job in Anaconda we were politely reminded that it wasn't that long ago that they hung a guy with a logging chain for crossing the picket line. We were non-union from a few hours away. That was plenty of motivation to finish up and leave town.

3rd generation Montanan, raising the 4th.

Surprisingly, it's also the only state to require just cause for terminating an employment relationship (not at-will).

Montana has had bad experiences with a lack of regulation in the past. Montana was also the state with corporate political donations limits that went up against Citizens United.

> Montana was also the state with corporate political donations limits that went up against Citizens United.

This is incorrect. Corporations are not allowed to donate to political campaigns, and that's been illegal throughout the US for a very, very long time.

Individuals (like you and me) who are unaffiliated with political campaigns are allowed to make political statements. And we're allowed to spend money to make those statements, as long as we don't coordinate with campaigns at any point. Citizens United ruled that individuals retain this right when they band together in groups to make political statements (again, as long as that group of people remains unaffiliated with political campaigns and does not coordinate with them in any way).

Montana tried to argue that this law didn't apply to state and local elections, but they were struck down, because... well, it was a particularly weak argument for them to make in the first place, from a legal perspective.

My point isn't that it was a strong or weak argument and if it should have been able to stand against Citizens United. Rather, my point was that part of the social and political fabric of Montana for the past century has been one of curtailing excessive political power held by corporations.

The Corrupt Practices Act of 1912 was a demonstration of the shift from corporate control of the state house to one where corporations were viewed very warily. It was recognized that a corporation is more likely to act in its own interest than that of the state or its citizens.

In the decades since then, this has found its way into many pieces of law and the political consciousness of Montana appears to be one that still views corporations through a wary eye. It is recognized that it is the responsibility of the state is to protect its citizens from corporations. Going by http://www.nclc.org/images/pdf/udap/report_50_states.pdf , Montana has fairly strong consumer protection.

So, let me rephrase my original statement... Montana is a state that appears to value protecting its citizens more than corporations as demonstrated by its challenge (the only state that did so) to Citizens United. That Montana is attempting to implement net neutrality should come as no surprise when one looks at the history of the state and its relationship with corporations.

"Unaffiliated" is doing a lot of work in that description, as it turns out.

Not really; this area of case law is pretty well-established, going back long before the Citizens United decision.

"The great object of an incorporation is to bestow the character and properties of individuality on a collective and changing body of men." - chief justice Marshall

a few of these decisions to be aware of:

The Rev John Bracken v. The Visitors of Wm & Mary College (7 Va. 573 -- 1790 Supreme Court of Virginia) established that a corporation had the right to reorganize itself, ie, that the people working together for a common cause could hire+fire just like they would if there was a single owner

Trustees of Dartmouth College v. Woodward (17 U.S. 518 -- 1819) established that groups of people could enter into contracts and that they'd be enforceable just as contracts with a "natural person".

Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad (1886) established that the 14th amendment (due process) applied to groups of people organized under a common cause, and not just to individuals. This is followed up in Pembina Consolidated Silver Mining Co. v. Pennsylvania – 125 U.S. 181 (1888) which rather explicitly states "corporations are merely associations of individuals united for a special purpose and permitted to do business under a particular name and have a succession of members without dissolution".

United States v. Auto Workers, 352 U.S. 567 (1957) upheld the ban on corporate campaign funding, but as is so eloquently noted in the dissent, "associations of manufacturers, retail and wholesale trade groups, consumers' leagues, farmers' unions, religious groups, and every other association representing a segment of American life and taking an active part in our political campaigns and discussions" should have "all channels of communication be open to them during every election, that no point of view be restrained or barred, and that the people have access to the views of every group in the community."

Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce (1990) and McConnell v. Federal Election Commission (2003) extended the restriction on campaign funding to also cover advocacy, limiting the speech that could be undertaken by groups of people pooling funds together.

Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, 558 U.S. 844 (2010) overturned the Austin and McConnell decisions. Justice Kennedy: "wealthy individuals and unincorporated associations can spend unlimited amounts .... Yet [under the Austin decision] certain disfavored associations of citizens — those that have taken on the corporate form — are penalized for engaging in the same political speech .... When Government seeks to use its full power, including the criminal law, to command where a person may get his or her information or what distrusted source he or she may not hear, it uses censorship to control thought. This is unlawful."

Maybe it's time to re-think your preconceived ideas of Montana.

People don't fit into neat left/right political boxes.

Sadly the US only has two political parties so none of that even remotely matters.

Amusing how a country with a thousand different religious denominations only has two political opponents isn't it?

It may be amusing, but it's a natural result of how voting is done in the US https://www.youtube.com/watch?list=EC7679C7ACE93A5638&v=s7tW...

My perception is that Bullock generally avoids national issues save for his advocacy against Citizens United when he was AG.

I think he’s running

While it's not a complete net-neutrality across the board. Having lived in Montana before I can tell you why they did this despite being Red State. Montana has always been a state that values strong state rights. It was one of the last States to have a speed limit.

So state preemption would rub a lot of Montanians the wrong way. Montana also has a democrat governor at the moment.

Montana is also the state that tried to pass a gun law that didn't require federal registration if the gun was made, sold, and used in Montana. Federal courts struck that one down.


Honestly, when reading about that, I find the panels reasoning of: "Circuit panel unanimously ruled that Congress could regulate the internal manufacture of firearms within Montana because the creation and circulation of such firearms could reasonably be expected to impact the market for firearms nationally."

Seems a bit of stretch if you ask me. I am not sure I would call that interstate commerce.

Kansas has a similar law on the books. These laws haven't exactly been struck down, but states can't seem to uphold them either. http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2017/feb/06/2-kansas-men-spared...

And California (where I live) is still lounging, doing nothing.

Create a state law that defines what constitutes "internet access". ISPs would be forced to offer that or "limited internet access" or some such.

Another executive order... and this one only affecting ISPs wanting a contract with the state government. Is that really the best that can be done?

If you're the Governor of Montana, it probably is the best that can be done.

It's not a lot by itself, of course, but I'm not going to begrudge local and state officials from exercising what powers they do have to try and make the situation a bit better.

They could stop running as Republican candidates. Just an idea.

Do you mind not injecting partisan politics? Discussions tend to become instantly boring and/or hostile when we do so.


The Governor of Montana is a Democrat.

The governor's even been a Democrat for the past 13 years, for that matter (4 consecutive elections). People seem to have the idea that Montana is an ultra-conservative state where Republicans win every election, which isn't really true.

Keep in mind that most ISPs get contracts with state government and are generally subsidized by state contracts, especially for city and rural rollouts. Notably Verizon gets a number of complaints in NYC and NJ for not fulfilling contracts. It also opens the doors for other smaller ISPs to get those contracts and create more competition.

Is it likely that the whole NN issue will end up decided by SCOTUS?

What's there for the SCOTUS to decide?

That's great news! But what about internet privacy?

If it's at all effective congress will preempt it.

I think that'd be an uphill battle.

E.g., I, for one, oppose federal interference with the technical decisions of ISPs via so-called net neutrality. I've written my representatives on multiple occasions saying so. If I lived in Montana, I'd be similarly opposed to the state government's meddling. As a citizen of Minnesota, I'd actually oppose an overreaching federal government if they tried to overturn Montana's law. Even though I think it'd be better policy for Montanans, I regard Montana's rights as a state as more important than my ego's desire to direct their policy from afar.

My guess is that a lot of other opponents of federal internet regulation would agree.

I'm actually quite glad to see this playing out among the various states as 'laboratories of democracy'. In ten years, we'll both have a lot more data on which policy promotes better offerings.

What I'd really like to see is one of the states declare municipal grants of telecommunications monopolies to be void. E.g., if some town has contracted with Comcast to be the only ISP legally allowed, then the state would come in and say that those terms are legally unenforceable and that the town has to license at least one or two competitors or face charges from the state.

> I think that'd be an uphill battle.

Yeah, nothing in this arena's going to come easily to either side, there's far too much at stake. The Supreme Court didn't help planning or certainty when it disturbed fairly well-settled federal preclusion doctrine with a number of split holdings over the past 20 years so one way or the other we're in for a show.


Good for them. Hopefully Texas will fo-lol I can't even finish that sentence.

Reading Cruz's tweets on net neutrality invokes a special type of enragement[0]. It is downright offensive how he treats his constituents, especially us lucky folks in the "People's Republic of Austin".

0. https://twitter.com/tedcruz/status/941489723901665280?lang=e...

The way that Cruz talks about NN is infuriating to everyone I have talked to in CS or literally anyone I have talked to in DFW. There are a massive amount of tech people in DFW who should be pushing for NN for their business more than there is in Austin and I am suprised nothing has come of it.

Great, but there's like five people in Montana; it's practically a Dakota.


For this requirement to have any meaning, Montana would need to be able to enforce it (ie choose another isp). But that would show that the isp landscape isn't owned by monopolies. This would actually seriously undermine many arguments as to why net neutrality needs laws to protect it over what the market can do.

I wonder is if we will start to find out that maybe the isp market isn't as closed as we thought - wireless tech, more entrants, new tech - and those saying we need NN laws because the market isn't healthy enough will pivot to a more normative claim regardless of completion.

I am somebody who could easily be brought on board with specifically crafted NN laws, but see much of the title ii at all costs advocacy a little of the mark.

> For this requirement to have any meaning, Montana would need to be able to enforce it (ie choose another isp).

Why? Can't they also just fine them in increasing amounts until they comply?

No they can't. Its not a law. It is just a directive that the government will not do business with isps that do not comply to certain standards.

Why? What, specifically, is bad about Title II? What makes it good for telephone, but not good for Internet?

Not to be against state's rights here, but isn't Net Neutrality anti-business? If a state goes it alone, does it risk pro-business components who might leave the state? Curiosity vs. equality slant, so not looking to pick a bone here. Real question ..

The parent's account appears to be new and largely used for political and ideological discussion. I'm not a moderator, but I'd encourage you to read the community guidelines as that type of behavior is specifically prohibited: https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html

So let's pull down reference:

Not to be against state's rights here, but isn't Net Neutrality anti-business? >> generalization, but specific to a yes/no. No politics, but setting aside states vs. federal overlap and differences >> Net Neutrality hits at the heart of overlap. That was a tactile approach to ask a question w/o saying Trump, Democrats suck, Republicans Suck .. etc.

If a state goes it alone, does it risk pro-business components who might leave the state? >> How is THIS political? I ask the risk for analysis >> to help me expand the dynamic understand that is required for Net Neutrality to have an informed view. NN IS political, and I'm trying to understand the longer view of its implications to each part. THAT is neutral.

Curiosity vs. equality slant, so not looking to pick a bone here. Real question .. >> Lastly ... I stated my intent. Intent is either what sets you free ... or lands you in jail. >> In this case, I used intent to direct towards WHY is NN so controversial and how can we make it LESS controversial. >>I don't understand people that don't like open-minded requests for help in understanding the broader strokes of very BROAD topics. It's the nuances ... not the prickly parts .. that make for good conversation.

I was being constructive, yet the immediate response was "I am not a moderator (but implied .. if I was, you'd be banned)" like its IRC

Net Neutralitiy is pro-buisness and pro-consumers.

If you want to make an internet startup in a NN jurisdiction you won't have additional costs to deliver the service to customers. For what reason would NN make be anti-buisness?

NN is technically anti-business, if your business happens to be "large nation-wide ISP".

Or any small ISP that wants to be able to compete with those large nationwide ISPs. It's much harder for small ISPs to comply with Title II regulation than large ones with tons of employees.

"Not to be against state's rights here, but isn't Net Neutrality anti-business?"

Depends on which business we're talking about. Also, why do I care if it's pro or anti business? Things like mandatory sick days are good for the people, but considered "anti business".

As Luigi Zingales says, being pro-market is not the same as being pro-business.

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