Net Neutrality bill introduced in the Iowa House

Iowa State Capitol The Iowa State Capitol. Adam Rogan/Clay & Milk

Iowa House file 2287 introduced last Thursday would bring internet neutrality to Iowa.

Introduced by Rep. Liz Bennett, D-Cedar Rapids, the bill—known as the Iowa Internet Neutrality Act—prohibits communications service providers from impairing or degrading lawful internet traffic on the basis of content, applications, services or the use of nonharmful devices.

It also prohibits communications service providers from engaging in paid prioritization and interfering with or disadvantaging the ability of an end user to select, access or use broadband service.

The Iowa Internet Neutrality Act has until Friday—the first funnel deadline—to come out of the Commerce committee in the House.

Bennett told Clay & Milk Monday she wasn’t confident the bill would get out of the House Commerce committee—this session—but said that after the Federal decision in December, it was simply important to bring the concept of net neutrality to other legislators attention.

“This session might be a good time to plug the involvement of millennials and Gen X people in the tech and startup communities with state and local government,” Bennett said. “There’s a certain population of us who understand what can happen to the internet when it’s not a free and open internet.”

Bennett says with so many people relying on the internet, “The idea of fast lanes or pay to play is really concerning.”

The Iowa Internet Neutrality Act requires communications service providers make informational materials available that explain the provider’s network management practices, performance and commercial terms of its broadband service. It comes two months after the FCC voted to repeal the net neutrality rules that were put in place in 2015.

Net Neutrality
Illustration by Nathan T Wright

The open internet rules (Which are now known as net neutrality rules) provided a principle that Internet providers should make all content available at the same speed. The rules barred ISP’s from blocking, slowing or providing preferential treatment to specific content.

Earlier this year, Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller joined 20 other states in an effort to reverse the Federal Communications Commission’s repeal of net neutrality regulations.

“You can’t discriminate against those using the internet, you can’t discriminate against those that are providing content on the internet,” Miller told reporters.

The Des Moines Register reported Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds appeared to disagree with Miller’s action.

“The internet grew and thrived before net neutrality was put in place in 2015, and the governor believes that it will continue to grow and thrive after the FCC’s decision to eliminate the rule,” Reynolds spokeswoman Brenna Smith said in January. “Greater government control of an industry isn’t usually a recipe for innovation.”