SECTION 1. As used in this act, the following words shall, unless the context clearly requires otherwise, have the following meanings:
“Broadband Internet Access Service”, means a mass-market retail service by wire or radio provided to customers in Massachusetts that provides the capability to transmit data to and receive data from all, or substantially all Internet endpoints, including but not limited to, any capabilities that are incidental to and enable the operation of the communications service, but excluding dial-up Internet access service. Broadband Internet Access Service also encompasses any service provided to customers in Massachusetts that provides a functional equivalent of that service or that is used to evade the protections set forth in this act.
“COVID-19 emergency”, also known as COVID-19, means the state of emergency concerning the novel coronavirus disease outbreak declared by the governor on March 10, 2020.
“Data cap or allowance”, means a limit on, or a fee-based structure with the purpose of limiting, the number of bits a consumer may download or upload during a period of time specified by an Internet Service Provider.
“Internet Service Provider”, means all entities that provide Broadband Internet Access Service to an individual, corporation, government, or other customer in Massachusetts, however for the purposes of this act, Internet Service Provider shall not mean Mobile Internet Service Provider and shall not include entities providing only cellular internet service to subscribers.
“Mobile Broadband Internet Access Service”, means a Broadband Internet Access Service that serves end users primarily using mobile stations. Mobile Broadband Internet Access Service includes, but is not limited to, Broadband Internet Access Services that use smartphones or mobile-network-enabled tablets as the primary endpoints for connection to the Internet, as well as mobile satellite broadband services. However, for the purposes of this act, Mobile Broadband Internet Access Service shall not include hotspots provided to students for educational purposes.
“Mobile Internet Service Provider”, means all entities that provide Mobile Broadband Internet Access Service to an individual, corporation, government, or other customer in Massachusetts.
“Subscribers”, means any existing and new customers of Broadband Internet Access Service.
SECTION 2. (a) Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, for the duration of the COVID-19 emergency and 60 days thereafter, Internet Service Providers shall not:
(1) increase the cost of any Broadband Internet Access Services for their subscribers;
(2) levy any new fees or charges related to Broadband Internet Access Services upon their subscribers;
(3) impose new data caps or allowances onto their subscribers; or
(4) shut off Broadband Internet Access Service or services for subscribers that are unable to pay overdue bill due to financial hardship caused by the COVID-19 emergency.
SECTION 3. For the duration of the COVID-19 emergency and 60 days thereafter, there shall be a moratorium on any pre-existing data caps or allowances imposed by Internet Service Providers.
SECTION 4. Mobile Internet Service Providers are exempt from the provisions in this act.
SECTION 5. This act shall expire 60 days after the termination of the governor’s March 10, 2020 declaration of a state of emergency. The governor may extend the provisions of this act for a maximum of 180 days after the termination of the governor’s March 10, 2020 declaration of a state of emergency.
SECTION 6. Section 6A of chapter 25C of the General Laws is hereby repealed.
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