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WASHINGTON — On Thursday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that he will introduce strong Net Neutrality legislation in 2020 to fill the vacuum left in late 2017 when the Trump FCC repealed its own historic open-internet protections and surrendered the agency’s authority over broadband at the federal level.

According to Gov. Cuomo’s press release, his bill would “prevent the blocking, throttling and paid prioritization of online content.” The legislation would also ban harmful zero-rating practices in which providers disadvantage their rivals by charging for content from some companies but not others.

“A free and open internet is one of the great equalizers — allowing every person the same access to information and helping protect freedom of speech,” Gov. Cuomo said in the statement. “While the federal administration works to undermine this asset, in New York we are advancing the strongest net neutrality proposal in the nation so big corporations can't control what information we access or stymie smaller competitors.”

The legislation would include transparency requirements mandating that ISPs disclose their practices to customers. The bill would also include a private right of action allowing people to take their broadband providers to court for violating the state’s Net Neutrality law.

If enacted, the New York law would become the fifth state law passed after the FCC wrongly repealed its open-internet rules and framework in 2017. Six states, including New York, have signed executive orders protecting Net Neutrality.

Free Press Action Vice President of Policy and General Counsel Matt Wood made the following statement:

“Governor Cuomo’s announcement is welcome news for everyone who knows they can’t trust greedy cable and phone company executives to keep the internet as open as it’s always been.

“This is another significant milestone in the effort to restore critical protections for everyone in America, as one of the country’s most populous states announces its intention to restore the time-tested and vital rights ripped away by Donald Trump’s FCC.

“Net Neutrality is a fundamental building block of our internet ecosystem, and an essential nondiscrimination law for everyone who needs to speak up and speak out. The right to communicate without interference from your broadband provider is essential to starting a new business, finding educational opportunities, organizing against racism and other forms of injustice, or creating and distributing news, music, art and other information.

“While we haven’t yet seen the bill’s language, the announcement today is promising and shows that the governor’s team is thinking about the issue comprehensively — not taking the bait on watered-down versions of Net Neutrality that could leave gaping loopholes for ISP schemes. We look forward to learning more about Cuomo’s plans, working with lawmakers in the state, and mobilizing people in New York to ensure that the final law fully delivers on the promise of today’s news.”

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