Wednesday, 19 December, 2018

Public Knowledge Welcomes California Open Internet Bill to Restore Net Neutrality Protections

Under new law, bars in LA, Oakland and other Californian cities could serve alcohol until 4 AM Public Knowledge Welcomes California Open Internet Bill to Restore Net Neutrality Protections
Lloyd Bates | 02 September, 2018, 03:42

Dozens of other states are looking to pull this end run around the FCC and the Trump administration by legislating net neutrality and making it a state law.

The senate voted to save net neutrality back in May after the Federal Communications Commission led by Trump-appointee Ajit Pai repealed Obama-era regulations a year ago.

Gov. Brown's office said he would not be commenting on SB 822.

The bill stops Internet service providers from blocking or slowing down certain websites or "classes of applications", like video. The Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) Restoring Internet Freedom Order went into effect in June and its supporters said the internet could "flourish" again like before the 2015 net neutrality regulation went into place.

The bill had passed both the Senate and Assembly and was awaiting a final Assembly vote to send it to Brown.

"Governor Brown should use his veto pen on this legislation, and Congress should step in to legislate and provide consumer protections that will resolve this issue once and for all", said Jonathan Spalter, president and chief executive of USTelecom, a Washington-based lobby group. And it would make it illegal for carriers to exempt apps from consumers' monthly data caps if doing so could harm competing start-ups and small businesses in "abusive" ways. The bill also would require investor-owned utilities - including PG&E, Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric - to harden their equipment so it's less likely to cause fires. It gave California internet users the ability to know what information a company like Facebook or Google was collecting, and how it was being used and shared with third parties.

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Telecommunications industry groups including the California Cable and Telecommunications Association and the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association opposed the legislation.

California would become the fourth state to pass its own net neutrality protections, but the largest and most consequential.

With the bill's passage in the Assembly and a vote potentially in the Senate happening today, the Electronic Frontier Foundation called on California residents to tell their lawmakers to support the bill.

Internet providers say they've publicly committed to upholding the values of net neutrality, but strict rules like California's would inhibit investment in faster technology.

Internet service providers say that zero-rating provides value to their customers and should be allowed. However, because changes were made in the Assembly, the Senate must vote on the legislation again. "And they're not going to let their elected officials get away with it if they sell out their constituents by siding with big telecom companies".

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