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Lawmaker files bills to ensure ‘Net Neutrality’ in P.R.

Sen. Aníbal José Torres announced the filing of several legislative measures to guarantee the concept of “Net Neutrality” in Puerto Rico, so that consumers can surf a restriction-free internet.

Senate Joint Resolution 200 orders the Puerto Rico Secretary of Justice of to join the lawsuit filed by various states and U.S. jurisdictions against the new Federal Communications Commission rules that eliminate “Net Neutrality,” while Senate Bill 836 requires every internet service provider to establish measures in line with the basic principles of Net Neutrality as a condition for contracting with local government agencies, corporations and instrumentalities.

“With the new rules of the Trump administration, seeking to censor freedom of expression and restrict access to information on the web to our people with lower financial power, it is necessary to take all measures within our reach,” Torres said.

“Therefore, we are demanding that Justice joins the lawsuit filed by several states on behalf of the Commonwealth challenging the FCC’s determinations as arbitrary. In addition, we expect that any company that does not respect the basic principles of ‘Net Neutrality’ not to benefit financially with money from our people,” the lawmaker added.

According to Joint Resolution 200’s Explanatory Memorandum, the FCC’s decision would imply higher costs to access information and to access a fast internet network.

Furthermore, it imposes excessive limitations to peer-to-peer exchange applications and would allow saturation of the network by providers, and would provoke greater controls to free access to internet content, so freedom of information and expression is affected, the document noted.

Senators  Eduardo Bhatia-Gautier, José Nadal-Power, Miguel A. Pereira-Castillo and Cirilo Tirado-Rivera joined as co-sponsors.

If it were to become a law, Senate Bill 836, Puerto Rico would then join U.S. jurisdictions such as Olympia, Washington, which is the first to enact their own requirements for “Net Neutrality,” and Oregon which has adopted related regulations.

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.

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