California net neutrality bill clears key hurdle


"This bill would set a tremendous precedent, with the power to shape the internet market not just in California, but across the country, for the betterment of consumers". But this bill actually goes further than those rules with an outright ban on zero-rating - the practice of offering free data, potentially to the advantage of some companies over others - of specific apps. 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. Ajit Pai, the FCC chairman appointed by President Donald Trump, pitched the repeal as a way to stop the federal government from "micromanaging the internet".

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.

If California Governor Jerry Brown signs net neutrality into law, the state could possibly face a legal fight from the Federal Communications Commission, which has declared that states cannot pass their own net neutrality rules. "We hope that other states can look to this legislation as a model for net neutrality standards". But, unsurprisingly, it turns out they also hate it when cities or states try the same thing. It gained the support of Mother Lode Republican Assemblyman Frank Bigelow, but the region's Senator, Tom Berryhill, did not vote, as we reported earlier he has been missing from the capitol over the past few months. AT&T is the parent company of CNN. Almost three dozen other states are working on their own laws, and supporters hope California's bill will inspire even more states to follow suit.

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Now that it has passed the California State Assembly, SB822 moves on to the State Senate where it should have no difficulty passing. Supporters of net neutrality rules have been fighting the FCC's ruling on multiple fronts.

Without strong rules, say companies such as Eventbrite and Vimeo, internet providers could engage in anticompetitive behavior that harms smaller online companies, reducing consumer choices.

The FCC did not reply to a request for comment. In June, it became the first state to pass internet privacy legislation, giving consumer more control over their personal data. "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". It faced opposition from major technology players, including Facebook, Google and Amazon.