If the States Regulate ISPs, Shouldn’t We Talk to Them about Net Neutrality?

I found an interesting tidbit on the FCC website about the regulation of the internet.  It says:

The FCC does not regulate the Internet or Internet Service Providers (ISPs). You may contact your state consumer protection office….

If that is the case, why are we contacting the FCC and the federal government about Net Neutrality, when the power to regulate it is already in the hands of the states we reside in?

While it may be a battle to get net neutrality regulations at the federal level, for a variety of reasons, in some states it may be easier to get net neutrality regulations passed at the state level.

We tend to forget that the United States is a union, and most domestic laws are passed at the state level, not the federal level.

If we want to have more of an effect on net neutrality, maybe we need to contact those responsible for regulating it: the states.


  1. I haven’t heard of any state governments that even bother to tackle net neutrality. If you think about the internet it’s not really something that can be affected by a single state in any meaningful way.

    For example: I’m on the east coast and I use gmail via their website. The web server I’m talking to is in california. If I do a traceroute I see my traffic go through atlanta, then new york, then a midwestern state like texas, Illinois or Colorado, then to california.

    If any one state enacted laws regarding net neutrality that weren’t mirrored by at least the rest of the US it wouldn’t affect traffic flow very much. It would also be very easy to either route around that state or simply move any core connected data centers out of the state. Then you’re free and clear to do evil upstream.

    • True. But the biggest advocates for eliminating net neutrality are cable companies which provide local internet service. These could easily be regulated by the state. It would be harder to regulate the backbone providers, but they don’t appear to be the ones against net neutrality, so there is less of a risk there, at least for now.

      • Cable providers own access to the customers of the companies that depend on neutral treatment. So if the backbone is neutral but the edge is not it solves nothing. Also, it would be very easy to shape or drop traffic in states that allow it to make it look as if there are no modifications being made.

        • Although it may be easy to do, both the FCC and the states prohibit the practice under existing laws requiring disclosure and prohibiting false advertising. It would be a violation with FCC rules if they reduced speed of some sites or providers without disclosing it to their clients.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.