Mayor Pete Buttigieg has signed the Cities Open Internet Pledge, which comes in response to the Federal Communications Commission’s recent repeal of its Open Internet order (also known as Net Neutrality). The repeal opens the door for internet service companies to interfere with consumer access to certain websites, including government domains.
“South Bend residents expect a free and open internet,” said Buttigieg. “Access to government services online should be a given, not a privilege.”
“Just like cars from a specific maker should not have a different set of rules on the road, traffic on the internet should be treated without preferences” said South Bend Chief Innovation Officer Santiago Garces. “Net Neutrality fosters innovation and enables the American entrepreneurial spirit.”
The pledge commits mayors to taking steps within the law to prevent gatekeepers from “throttling, blocking, or limiting government content on the internet.” These steps may include the following:
Procure applicable internet services from companies that do not block, throttle, or provide paid prioritization of content on sites that cities run to provide critical services and information to their residents.
Ensure an open internet connection with any free or subsidized service we offer to our residents.
Not block, throttle or engage in paid prioritization when providing internet service directly to our residents, such as through free public Wi-Fi or municipal broadband.
To the extent permitted, require clear and accessible notices of filtering, blocking and prioritization policies with enforceable penalties for violations to protect consumers from deceptive practices.
Monitor the practices of internet service providers so consumers and regulators can know when a company is violating open internet principles or commitments.
Encourage consumer use of ISPs, including municipal options, that abide by open internet policies.
In signing the pledge, Buttigieg joins a cohort of other mayors, such as New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, and Austin Mayor Steve Adler.