Local teen helping lawmakers draft a net neutrality bill

Published: Feb. 1, 2018 at 10:22 PM CST
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A group of high school students from around the state is trying to guarantee equal access to the internet with a new bill for the state. It's an effort to get state lawmakers to back net neutrality.

In December, the Federal Communications Commission repealed the requirement that internet providers had to treat all data on the internet the same, not speeding up, slowing down, or blocking any content.

Kevin Drahos is a student at Linn-Mar High School. He's working with state lawmakers on a net neutrality bill.

Drahos says it would establish guidelines for internet service providers who want to serve state government agencies.

They hope it will protect internet users from throttling, blocking or charging higher rates.

Drahos is working with Representatives Cownie (R) and Oldson (D). He's hoping that means the bill will get bi-partisan support.

He says the bill is legal and doesn't contradict the new FCC rules.

"The plan we have would actually allow the government to issue contracts to the Internet service providers that would say, 'Hey, as an Internet service provider, you can only we will only contact you to work for provide Internet to our government entity if you abide by net neutrality rules,'' Drahos said.

TV9 reached out to some local internet service providers to hear their thoughts on the proposed legislation.

South Slope sent a statement:

"At South Slope Cooperative Communications, we support net neutrality and have no plans to change our internet service through blocking, throttling or censoring online content."

Drahos says the bill is still being drafted and they are working on two different versions of it.

He says he hopes to work in public policy someday.