Net neutrality makes comeback in California; lawmakers agree to strict rules

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A California network neutrality bill that could impose the toughest rules in the country is being resurrected. The bill was approved in its strongest form by the CA Senate, but it was then gutted by the State Assembly's Communications Committee, which approved the bill only after eliminating provisions opposed by AT&T and cable lobbyists. Bill author CA state Sen Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) has been negotiating with Communications Committee Chairman Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles) and other lawmakers since then, and he announced the results today. State Sen Wiener said the agreement with Santiago and other lawwmakers resulted in "legislation implementing the strongest net neutrality protections in the nation."

A fact sheet distributed by Wiener's office said the following: "Under this agreement, SB 822 will contain strong net neutrality protections and prohibit blocking websites, speeding up or slowing down websites or whole classes of applications such as video, and charging websites for access to an ISP's subscribers or for fast lanes to those subscribers. ISPs will also be prohibited from circumventing these protections at the point where data enters their networks and from charging access fees to reach ISP customers. SB 822 will also ban ISPs from violating net neutrality by not counting the content and websites they own against subscribers' data caps. This kind of abusive and anti-competitive 'zero rating,' which leads to lower data caps for everyone, would be prohibited, while 'zero-rating' plans that don't harm consumers are not banned." A separate bill that was also included in the negotiations "will be amended to focus on requiring ISPs that enter into state contracts adhere to net neutrality principles," the fact sheet said. "This provision ensures that public entities only expend taxpayer funds on contracts with ISPs that comply with California’s comprehensive net neutrality protections."

Net neutrality makes comeback in California; lawmakers agree to strict rules CA Lawmkers Announce Agreement on California Bill with Strongest Net Neutrality Protections in the Country (Press release)