Norm Needleman


Norm Needleman



March 9, 2021

Energy & Technology Committee Holds Public Hearing on Net Neutrality, Data Cap, Broadband Legislation

Today, the Energy & Technology Committee held a public hearing on a series of bills that would change the state’s regulations and guidelines on topics including net neutrality, internet access, data caps and broadband access statewide, several coming in response to trends noticed or exacerbated during the COVID-19 pandemic. State Senator Norm Needleman (D-Essex), Senate Chair of the Energy & Technology Committee, led the discussion, noting several bills were primary focuses of Connecticut Senate Democrats and Governor Lamont’s office, respectively.

I’m grateful the public was able to join the committee in a healthy, constructive discussion about broadband access and other significant internet-centric legislation,” said Sen. Needleman. “The hearing saw a healthy debate, giving legislators and members of the public more context and information about what these bills could change in our state.

Among the bills discussed in today’s hearing:

  • Senate Bill 4, “An Act Concerning Data Privacy, Net Neutrality, Cyber Security and Fairness in Data Usage in the New Age of a Digital Workforce,” would make several improvements, including requiring the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority to apply net neutrality principles, conduct studies on cyberstalking and data privacy, and extend the crime of stalking in the second degree to certain internet disclosures of personal information without consent. It would also establish a civil action for victims of such crimes, requiring school boards to post existing suicide prevention policies and procedures online. This legislation is a priority of Senate Democrats.
  • Governor’s Bill 6442, “An Act Concerning Equitable Access to Broadband,” would implement programs and policies to ensure universal availability and accessibility of high-speed broadband internet access service statewide, establish advanced standards for broadband internet access service, ensure broadband internet service is available and affordable for all residents of the state, create structures to sustain broadband internet infrastructure statewide, ensure educational institutions have access at all times, encourage existing and new internet access providers to pilot affordable services for residents, businesses and governments, regulate the resulting environment, and encourage the state’s educational community to grow its talent pipeline and invest in long-term benefits from such service. This legislation is a priority of the Governor’s office.
  • Senate Bill 990, “An Act Preventing New Data Caps During COVID-19,” would block the imposition of data caps, which limit monthly internet consumption for customers, by internet service providers until the conclusion of the COVID-19 public health emergency.