California’s Net Neutrality Bill Has Strong Zero Rating Protections for Low-Income Internet Users, Yet Sacramento May Ditch Them to Appease AT&T
California’s network neutrality bill, SB 822, is often referred to as the “gold standard” of state-based net neutrality laws. The bill tackles the full array of issues the Federal Communications Commission had addressed right up until the end of 2016 before it began repealing net neutrality. One such issue is the discriminatory use of zero rating, where Internet service providers could choose to give users access to certain content for “free”—that is, without digging into their data plans. ISPs can use zero rating to drive users to their own content and services to the detriment of competitors. California’s legislature has so far opted to ban discriminatory users of zero rating and prevent the major wireless players from picking winners and losers online. But new and increased resistance by the ISP lobby (led by AT&T and their representative organization CALinnovates) unfortunately has legislators contemplating whether discriminatory zero rating practices should remain lawful despite their harms for low-income Internet users. In fact, AT&T and their representatives are even going so far as to argue that their discriminatory self-dealing practices that violate net neutrality are actually good for low income Internet users.
CA's Net Neutrality Bill Has Strong Zero Rating Protections for Low-Income Internet Users, Yet Sacramento May Ditch Them to Appe