Net neutrality bill in California passes State Senate
Just this week, the California State Senate has passed a bill that was originally drafted by Senator Scott Wiener (Democrat from San Francisco). This bill would effectively enforce the most rigid set of net neutrality regulations anywhere in the United States. Officially designated as Senate Bill 822, the bill passed by a vote of 23 to 12. The next step now is to have the bill reviewed at the State Assembly Hearings, which are scheduled in June. After that, the bill must be voted on by the State Assembly by the end of August later this year. Lastly, the bill will have to be signed by current California Governor Jerry Brown (Democrat).
In a statement released to the public, Senator Wiener said that ever since President Donald Trump’s administration made a move to repeal the net neutrality rules established during former President Barack Obama’s time in the White House, the state of California had made a commitment to protect its citizens’ right to a free and fair information superhighway. Although the fact that the Senate Bill 822 has passed State Senate, the battle is far from over, especially in getting the bill through the State Assembly.
The last few years have seen increased debate over net neutrality principles. Ideally, they present a world in which broadband service providers are barred from slowing down or blocking access to the world wide web. The rules also make sure that providers can not select which web content can be made more easily accessible by consumers.
California’s net neutrality rules are somewhat special, mainly because they are far stricter than the 2015 regulations implemented by the Federal Communications Commission (then under Chairm Tom Wheeler). Indeed, Senate Bill 822 not only makes the FCC’s 2015 rules become law in the Golden State, it also prevents web service providers from delivering sponsored web content, zero rating, or other deals that could offer an economic incentive to broadband companies to discriminate against content riding on their networks. Deals such as this typically allow a company to pay data charges so that specific types of Internet content does not count against a mobile user’s data plan.
Moreover, Senate Bill 822 lets California oversee commercial interconnection deals made to make sure broadband service providers can not take full advantage of their market power to charge lofty fees from corporate clients. Interconnection deals are usually struck between firms that provide the web content (like Netflix for instance) and Internet companies (such as Verizon Wireless or Comcast).