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New Jersey governor signs net neutrality order

New Jersey governor signs net neutrality order
© Greg Nash

New Jersey on Monday became the latest state to implement its own net neutrality rules following the Federal Communications Commission’s repeal of the Obama-era consumer protections.

Gov. Phil Murphy (D) signed an executive order prohibiting all internet service providers that do business with the state from blocking, throttling or favoring web content.

“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.

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“While New Jersey cannot unilaterally regulate net neutrality back into law or cement it as a state regulation, we can exercise our power as a consumer to make our preferences known,” he added.

Murphy is following the lead of his counterparts in New York and Montana, who are pushing back on the FCC order, which also expressly preempted states from implementing their own net neutrality regulations. The executive orders will likely feature heavily in an upcoming court battle challenging the rollback.

Gurbir Grewal, New Jersey’s attorney general, also announced on Monday that the state would be the 22nd to join a lawsuit against the FCC.

“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,” Grewal said. “Our position is that the Federal Communications Commission acted arbitrarily and against the evidence before it when doing its about-face on net neutrality.”