Vargas, L’Italien File Bill to Prevent Internet From Being Carved Into Fast, Slow Lanes

Even though the Federal Communications Commission last week moved to allow internet providers to create fast and slow lanes, newly elected Haverhill state Rep. Andy Vargas and Andover Sen. Barbara L’Italien filed legislation in their respective houses to block the move in Massachusetts.

Vargas said the bill, modeled after a similar one introduced in Washington state, directs the Department of Public Utilities to protect consumers and open internet access. It also gives the attorney general permission to enforce what is known as “net neutrality.”

“The FCC’s recent vote to knock down net neutrality principles hurts small businesses, entrepreneurs, and individual consumers, ultimately raising the price of internet services and limiting service options,” Vargas said. “I proposed this legislation to prevent a widening of the digital divide and to protect the innovators and change-makers in Haverhill and across our Commonwealth.”

Vargas’ first piece of legislation, “An Act Protecting Consumers by Prohibiting Blocking, Throttling, or Paid Prioritization in the Provision of Internet Service,” was introduced in the Senate by L’Italien.

“A free and open internet is the foundation of communication in our modern society,” said L’Italien, adding, “Net neutrality has paved the way for people to share ideas, educate themselves and make a living. A free flow of information and opportunity for small businesses are two of the ideals this country was founded on.”