The Business Council of New York State, the state’s leading statewide business and industry association, opposes this legislation that would amend the Public Service Law by creating a new §12 regulating internet service providers to establish a so-called net neutrality system in New York State.
This bill has been the subject of much debate over the last several years. First and foremost, it should be noted, the regulation of the internet properly belongs under federal oversight through the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Our members remain steadfast in their support for an open internet, including reasonable federal protections to address practices that would threaten it. The internet is not limited by state boundaries and many of our members operate in multiple states. Likewise, today’s e-commerce markets are not limited to one’s neighborhood, and consumers buying on internet platforms have become national consumers. Therefore it only makes logical sense that a single, national standard should prevail making both consumers and providers subject to a unified federal standard.
Following the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) order “Restoring Internet Freedom” in 2018, FCC rules require providers to be transparent about their practices. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) was empowered to investigate and pursue any conduct that threatens consumers, as well as competition that is deceptive without discouraging competition and slowing job-generating investments. This restoration overturned a previous ruling by the FCC in 2015 that had imposed a 1930s system of regulations (“Title II”) that led to limited investments and a decrease (according to the FCC) in network broadband investments. The FTC will also provide a single national framework that will apply to all providers and Internet companies, giving consumers nationwide consistent and fair protections. In its wake, nationwide internet service has maintained broad access and high consumer satisfaction, contrary to some advocates' claims of likely widespread adverse impact on users.
This bill turns the FCC paradigm on its head and will contribute to a patchwork of inconsistent state-level regulations. It creates a system of annual certification in New York State, creates state definition of “net neutrality”, and numerous state-level rules on content service. The act is enforceable by the Attorney General but also adds a private right of action all but guaranteeing an expansion of court cases on this untried field of state regulation of the internet.
For the above reasons, The Business Council opposes adoption of this legislation.