CA Senate OKs Net Neutrality Rules

Thursday, May 31, 2018 @ 02:05 PM gHale

A bill aimed to restore net neutrality protections put in place by the Federal Communications Commission in 2015 gained approval in the California State Senate this week.

The move would help prevent Internet Service Providers (ISPs) from engaging in practices inconsistent with a free and fair Internet.

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These protections were repealed by the FCC in December 2017 and are set to end on June 11, 2018.

Senate Bill 822, sponsored by Democratic Senator Scott Wiener and co-authored by a handful of other California State Democratic senators and assembly members, also has the support of a broad coalition of public interest groups, labor organizations, social justice advocates, Internet service providers, start-ups and businesses, California mayors and local governments, as well as California residents.

The bill would prevent ISPs from:
• Blocking or slowing access to websites and discriminating against websites or applications
• Interfering with “a customer’s ability to select, access, and use broadband Internet access service or lawful Internet content, applications, services, or devices of the customer’s choice, or an edge provider’s ability to make lawful content, applications, services, or devices available to a customer”
• Zero-rating some Internet content, applications, services, or devices
• Engaging in deceptive or misleading marketing practices that misrepresent their treatment of Internet traffic, content, applications, services, or devices, or the performance characteristics or commercial terms of the broadband Internet access service to its customers
• Advertising or selling broadband Internet access service without prominently disclosing with specificity all aspects of the service

It would also allow the California Attorney General to enforce and hold ISPs responsible for violations, and consumers to bring an action under the Consumer Legal Remedies Act to protect their right to an open Internet.

The State Assembly will begin hearing about the bill in June, and by the end of August they should vote on it. If the majority agrees with the bill, the final decision of whether it should become law rests with California Governor Jerry Brown (also a Democrat).

If the bill becomes law, it will likely get challenged in court, as the FCC included a provision in the 2017 repeal that blocks states from passing their own net neutrality rules.

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