New Jersey enacts its own net neutrality regulations

ISPs that want to do business with the state will have to promise to treat all internet traffic equally.

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New Jersey has become the latest state to enact its own net neutrality regulations following the Federal Communications Commission's dismantling of the controversial Obama-era regulations.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy on Monday signed an executive order requiring internet service providers that do business with the state adhere to the principles of net neutrality. That means broadband providers wouldn't be allowed to throttle traffic or create internet "fast lanes."

"We may not agree with everything we see online, but that does not give us a justifiable reason to block the free, uninterrupted, and indiscriminate flow of information," Murphy said in a statement. "And, it certainly doesn't give certain companies or individuals a right to pay their way to the front of the line."

Supporters of net neutrality say the rules, which were adopted in 2015 under President Barack Obama, are necessary to ensure broadband companies don't abuse their power as gatekeepers of the internet. Companies like Facebook, Google, and Twitter supported the 2015 rules. But broadband providers say the rules were too onerous and stifled investment. Broadband providers like AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon support the FCC's repeal of the rules. 

With the order, New Jersey is joining Montana and New York in making their own net neutrality policy after the FCC voted in December to get rid of the net neutrality regulations, which required all internet traffic to be treated equally.

New Jersey on Monday also joined more than 20 other states in a lawsuit against the FCC over the repeal of net neutrality regulations.

"We are committed to taking whatever legal action we can to preserve the internet rights of New Jersey consumers, and to challenge the federal government's misguided attack on a free and open internet," New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said in a statement. "Our position is that the Federal Communications Commission acted arbitrarily and against the evidence before it when doing its about-face on net neutrality."

The FCC didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

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