A Hawaii state lawmaker announced plans Monday to introduce a bill that would require the state to explore the feasibility of creating and supporting locally owned broadband networks that do not rely on traditional internet service providers.
Kaniela Ing, a state representative who recently announced his intention to run for Congress, told me that in order to protect net neutrality in a way that is unlikely to be preempted by the Federal Communications Commission, he believes the state can incentivize the creation of locally owned internet infrastructure.
Ing has not yet introduced the legislation but wrote in a press release that “states like Hawaii must act now to save the equal-and-open internet.”
“One option is to reject corporate internet service providers altogether, and control the internet ourselves,” he wrote.
Ing told me on the phone that the bill will declare that the internet should be equal and open to all, urge Congress to reverse the FCC’s ruling, and, most importantly, will “set up a task force to explore the feasibility of community-owned broadband in Hawaii.” He said that the task force will delve into whether governments should directly support community-owned networks and look at whether it makes sense to provide grants for the creation for them.
“We’re doing something positive,” he said. “Locally owned internet is the only way to protect net neutrality for decades to come.”