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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: February 13, 2019 05:20 PM
From: Senator Lawrence M. Farnese, Jr.
To: All Senate members
Subject: Net Neutrality
In the near future, I intend to introduce a second bill to protect and promote net neutrality in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Net neutrality is the principle that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) must treat all data on the internet equally. This allows individuals to freely access information without providers discriminating against or promoting certain online services or websites. Furthermore, it prohibits ISPs from blocking, slowing, or speeding up websites depending on content, service agreements, or the ability of a person or entities ability to pay.

The end of net neutrality creates a substantial risk for the growth of inequality. First, there is the issue of educational inequality. Students in adjacent school districts may have different internet speeds due to the zip code where they live and the ability of that school district to pay more money to get higher speed internet. As more and more learning and textbooks are available online, this will harm some students educational growth and access. Additionally, economic inequality is likely to grow. Start up companies and business incubators may have differing internet speeds. This could harm their development of product and services and stunt the growth of the next great American tech company.

In order to prevent these educational and economic inequalities, I am introducing legislation that will:
  • Add Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to the list of public utilities.
  • Allow the PA Public Utility Commission to regulate ISPs.
  • Require persons providing broadband internet access to follow net neutrality rules.
  • Prohibit persons providing broadband internet access service from engaging in paid prioritization.
  • Prohibit the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania from contracting with ISPs that do not follow net neutrality principles.
Please join me in sponsoring this important equality and consumer protection legislation.

Introduced as SB393