Sci-tech

California lawmakers pass net neutrality bill, heads to governor's desk

California lawmakers pass net neutrality bill, heads to governor's desk

In June, the state adopted an internet privacy law, the first in the nation.

In what comes as a major blow to opponents of net neutrality, the state of California has succeeded in passing a bill that would effectively protect a free and open internet, joining four states including Washington and OR in doing so. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, who was appointed by President Donald Trump, and Republicans have called for an end to the utility-like oversight of internet service providers.

"We did it, we passed the strongest net neutrality standards in the nation", Democrat Scott Wiener, the bill's author, said in a written statement issued after the vote. We're already planning campaigns to get legislation like this passed in other states, and get the FCC order reversed.

The bill would prohibit Internet service providers from blocking or throttling lawful traffic, and from requiring fees from websites or online services to deliver or prioritize their traffic to consumers. For example, a company could not give free speedy access to its own streaming service but slow down Netflix.

It also would ban so-called "zero rating", in which internet providers don't count certain content against a monthly data cap.

It will now head to Governor Brown, who has until September 30 to veto the legislation or sign it into law.

Brown has not said whether he will sign the legislation.

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The new bill follows a similar effort called Let Our Communities Adjust Late Night (or the LOCAL Act), also spearheaded by Wiener, which passed through the Senate but stalled in the California State Assembly a year ago. Facebook, Apple, and Alphabet (Google's parent company) each now have two women apiece on their boards.

The bill's passage marks the second time in three months that the most populous state has sought to regulate companies on the internet. They were joined in that action a week later by a coalition of trade groups representing companies including Alphabet, Facebook and Amazon. Jerry Brown's desk in hopes that a signature will restore consumer protections that the Federal Communications Commission revoked in December. He said "light-touch" regulation would lead to more innovation, competition and cheaper prices for consumers.

The bills are opposed by the Custom Electronic Design & Installation Association, Entertainment Software Association, and National Electrical Manufacturers Association. "We support an open internet, but this bill move us no closer to that".

After passing in the Assembly on Wednesday, SB-826 breezed easily through the Senate yesterday.

The California legislation includes numerous FCC's old rules, but goes even further.

The bill seeks to turn California into the leader of a widening state-led backlash against the FCC, which did not respond to a request for comment.

"If there's one thing this victory in California shows it's that Internet users are still royally pissed off about the FCC's repeal of net neutrality".


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