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  • Summary date: Apr 16 2019 - View Summary

    Amends GS Chapter 143B, Article 15, Part 4, adding new GS 143B-1363, forbidding any State agency from entering into a contract with a broadband Internet provider (provider) that engages in any of the following activities: (1) managing a broadband network to favor or prioritize certain Internet traffic in exchange for consideration from a third party or to benefit an affiliated entity; (2) blocking of lawful content, applications, services, or benign devices; (3) impeding or degrading lawful traffic for the purpose of discriminating or favoring certain content, applications, services, or benign devices; or (4) unreasonably interfering with or disadvantaging an end user's ability to select, access, and use the broadband service or lawful Internet content, applications, services, or devices of the end user's choice.

    Allows a State agency to contract with a broadband provider engaging in the otherwise prohibited activity described above if the Secretary of the Department of Information Technology (Secretary) determines any of the following: (1) the provider is the only provider of broadband service to a particular geographic location relevant to the contract; (2) the provider engages in the activity described above for reasonable network management, which is defined as technically necessary, without intent to impact other business processes, and narrowly tailored to achieve a legitimate network management purpose; (3) the provider is blocking or interfering with traffic to address copyright infringement or other unlawful activity, or to assist with emergency communications, law enforcement, or public safety matters; or (4) significant public benefit results from the provider managing a network to favor certain traffic in exchange for consideration, and doing so does not inhibit the openness of the broadband service. 

    Directs broadband providers contracting with a State agency to disclose all information regarding the network management practices and other relevant characteristics sufficient for the Secretary to verify compliance with this statute. This statute applies to broadband service provided for fixed or mobile access. The Secretary may exempt all or a portion of a State agency from any of the restrictions contained in this statute upon request by that agency. 

    Amends GS 143B-1350(c) (procurement of information technology), adding new subsection (10), requiring that the Department of Information Technology (Department) enforce GS 143B-1363. 

    Amends GS 143B-1351(b) (restrictions on State agency contractual authority with regard to information technology), allowing the Secretary to certify vendor compliance with the requirements of GS 143B-1363 at the request of a local government entity. 

    Directs the Department to establish a telephone number and an online reporting mechanism for the public to report suspected violations of the principles of net neutrality in State information technology procurement. 

    Appropriates $150,000 in recurring funds from the General Fund to the Department for the 2019-20 fiscal year for the Department to establish one new full-time equivalent position within the Broadband Infrastructure Office to assist in administering the provisions of this Act. This section is effective July 1, 2019. 

    The remainder of this bill is effective January 1, 2020, and applies to contracts entered into or renewed on or after that date.