Calif. lawmakers OK plan for 'strongest net neutrality protection' in nation

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Net neutrality advocates worry that, without net neutrality rules, internet providers would be free to block political content, slow down websites from their competitors or drive consumers to their own content.

"Collectively this will be the most comprehensive and the strongest net neutrality protection in the United States", Wiener said at a Capitol news conference. Senator Wiener, Senator de León, Assemblymember Rob Bonta, and Assemblymember Miguel Santiago, the Chair of the Assembly Committee on Communications and Conveyance that voted on the watered-down bill, have all come to an agreement that once again makes California's proposed legislation the strongest net neutrality bill in the country. "For months, we have worked with a broad coalition to pass strong and enforceable net neutrality protections".

Net neutrality protection looks set to return to California after nationwide rules were repealed by the Trump administration in December of past year ... The state of OR recently passed a law that similarly prohibits state agencies from contracting with broadband providers that violate net neutrality principles.

Two measures by Wiener and Sen. Those regulations, like California's proposed measure, prohibited broadband carriers from blocking or throttling online traffic and from charging companies higher fees for prioritized delivery.

That, Wiener said, allows Internet service providers to limit choice and increase prices, with disproportionate harm falling on low-income residents.

Wiener said he was "cautiously optimistic", that the bills would pass, but that the opposition will be "intense and well-funded". The compromise legislation would prohibit internet service providers from charging websites fees for faster service while blocking or slowing websites that do not pay extra.

Senate Bill 822 also would bar internet service providers from circumventing the rules at the point where data enter their network and from levying access fees to reach internet service customers, officials said. SB 822 will also ban ISPs from violating net neutrality by not counting the content and websites they own against subscribers' data caps.

It must be approved by the full Assembly and Senate to be sent to Gov. Jerry Brown for consideration. This is outstanding news for supporters of net neutrality since a number of other states have similar bills going through the legislative process. The commission has asserted that the federal government has the right to regulate the internet, not states. Internet companies counter that state-level net neutrality provisions are not practical.

The lawmakers say they will release the new bill language next month, when the Legislature returns from its recess.

"We support a federal solution", Carolyn McIntyre, president of the California Cable & Telecommunications Association, has said at various hearings about SB 822, including the most recent one June 26 before the state Assembly's Privacy and Consumer Protection Committee.

AT&T representatives, who have opposed both previous versions of the legislation as overreaching, did not provide an immediate comment on the amended bill Thursday.

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