California close to enacting nation's strongest net neutrality law

03 September, 2018, 03:58 | Author: Mary Valdez
  • Alcohol bottles are displayed behind the bar at the Avalon nightclub in Hollywood in this undated

The Federal Communication Commission under former President Barack Obama passed rules prohibiting internet service providers, or ISPs, from throttling speeds, blocking lawful content and engaging in other practices considered to be in violation of the core principles of net neutrality, a concept essentially requiring ISPs to treat all web traffic equally.

The bill was passed on the last day of the legislative session and heads to Governor Jerry Brown's desk for consideration.

In June, the FCC under President Donald Trump repealed rules adopted during the Obama administration that barred internet service providers from blocking content or charging more for access, a move meant to establish a more level playing field or "net neutrality". As of now 30 total states have introduced bills to save net neutrality, as well as state governors in NY and Montana signing executive orders to ensure that communications providers must treat all data on the internet equally.

The final bill passage came after the state Assembly voted 61 to 18 to approve the measure Thursday, followed by a 27-to-12 vote Friday by the Senate. "The Trump administration destroyed the internet as we know it".

More than 20 states are suing the FCC to overturn the agency's decision on net neutrality.

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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. AT&T is the parent company of CNN.

Also on Friday, Assemblyman Evan Low announced he was ending his effort this year to pass a bill declaring gay conversion therapy a fraudulent practice. AT&T, which pushed hard against the California bill through its local lobbyists, has called for a national "Internet Bill of Rights" that would cover internet providers and online platforms alike, such as Google and Facebook. In June, it became the first state to pass internet privacy legislation, giving consumer more control over their personal data.

The U.S. Senate voted in May to keep the Obama-era internet rules but the measure is unlikely to be approved by the House of Representatives or the White House. Wiener, though, argues that zero-rating hurts competition, and eventually could lead to less consumer choice and higher prices.

Critics say the ban on zero rating will raise cellphone bills and make it harder for poor people to access streaming video since it would all count against their monthly data allotment. "They're still paying attention".


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