Cities join net neutrality fight with Open Internet Pledge spearheaded by New York City mayor

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New York Mayor Bill de Blasio speaking at an event in Seattle last year. (GeekWire Photo / Monica Nickelsburg)

The mayors of New York, San Francisco, Portland, and a handful of other cities across the country are banding together to pressure internet providers to respect net neutrality standards.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the Cities Open Internet Pledge at South by Southwest this week. Mayors that sign the pledge commit to procuring internet services from providers that treat all lawful traffic the same. They also agree to uphold net neutrality when providing city-owned WiFi and other internet services to their constituents.

“Corporate greed is the only reason net neutrality is gone,” de Blasio said in a statement. “To help even the playing field, New York City is going to hit companies in the only place they seem to feel it: their bottom line.”

Cities committed to the Open Internet Pledge will also act as watchdogs, monitoring broadband providers and notifying citizens when those companies violate net neutrality.

The pledge is the latest effort by local governments to fight the Federal Communications Commission’s repeal of net neutrality protections, which prohibit internet providers from throttling or speeding up traffic. Washington state enacted a first-of-its-kind net neutrality law requiring broadband companies to treat all content the same, despite the FCC’s attempt to preempt such local regulation.

Mayors Steve Adler (Austin), Ted Wheeler (Portland), Mark Farrell (San Francisco), Jacob Frey (Minneapolis), Sly James (Kansas City, Mo.), Sam Liccardo (San Jose, Calif.), Ron Nirenberg (San Antonio, Texas), Catherine Pugh (Baltimore), Barney Seney (Putnum, Conn.), Paul Soglin (Madison, Wis.) and Chair Zach Friend (Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors) have signed the pledge.

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