NEW MEXICO SENATOR HOWIE MORALES
Sen. Morales Announces Push for State Legislation to Keep Free and Fair Internet Access After FCC Strips Net Neutrality Protections
(Santa Fe, NM) – State Senator Howie Morales today announced that he will propose legislation establishing net neutrality for all of New Mexico in the January meeting of the legislature. Morales’ call for state net neutrality comes following the Federal Communications Commission’s controversial action impacting the Internet on Thursday that repeals Net Neutrality protections nation-wide.
“Since the federal government is abandoning its important responsibility to ensure free and fair Internet, we must push for legislation at the state level immediately to put in place strong net neutrality requirements here in New Mexico. We have ample means to do it. We can require that the powerful broadband providers like Verizon, Comcast and AT&T that operate here strictly practice net neutrality, and we can impose it in state contracts. Our state cable franchise agreements also can be used to establish net neutrality as a condition for accessing the public right-of-way for internet infrastructure. States can protect free and open internet access, and I intend to do it in New Mexico,” said Senator Howie Morales of Silver City.
A majority of the Federal Communications Commissioners voted yesterday to allow private Internet provider corporations to divide the Internet into fast and slow lanes for the first time. This major policy reversal means the Internet as we have come to know it would cease to exist, and the ordinary consumer would lose out on access to ideas and information.
“I am very concerned that students, the elderly and low-income people in New Mexico will be hurt if Internet service providers raise their rates. The FCC’s repeal of net neutrality makes that very likely. Many people in New Mexico cannot afford to pay more for access to the Internet,” added Morales.
Morales cited the National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC), among others groups, who strongly oppose the FCC’s repeal of net neutrality rules. NHMC said that net neutrality consumer protections have helped Hispanics, people of color and residents of rural communities find economic and educational opportunities online, and provided a platform to organize for change without interference or censorship from for-profit corporate Internet providers.