Connecticut's comptroller said there is a path the state can take to fight the recently lifted protections on net neutrality.
Kevin Lembo wrote a letter to Gov. Dannel Malloy that he sent on Tuesday.
In it, he said that while the Federal Communications Commission has preempted states from overriding the rule, Connecticut's government can use its market power to guarantee that taxpayer dollars are not being directed to internet providers that potentially try to block content, extort fees or shrink economic opportunities for state businesses.
"I urge you to issue an executive order that establishes free and open internet requirements to state procurement regulations for internet service, and denies economic assistance to providers that fail to uphold those same fair and equal-access policies," Lembo wrote.
Lembo said the state gives tens of millions of dollars per year to internet service providers. Connecticut makes an array of tax credits available to those companies.
"Those taxpayer dollars should only be granted to internet service providers that treat all online content equally, and withheld from any service provider that has paid prioritization agreements in place," he said.
Governors in Hawaii, Montana, New Jersey, New York and Vermont signed an executive order to hold internet service providers accountable to their taxpayers.
The FCC voted in December to overturn protections for a free and open internet.
Opponents of the measure fear that it could lead to companies charging consumers more for specific content. They would also have the power to block content.
The FCC said net neutrality will officially end in April.
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