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California fights to bring net neutrality back

Senate+President+Pro+Tem+Kevin+de+Le%C3%B3n%2C+D-Los+Angeles%2C+shown+here+with+Gov.+Jerry+Brown%2C+has+offered+a+bill+to+restore+net+neutrality+in+California.
Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles, shown here with Gov. Jerry Brown, has offered a bill to restore net neutrality in California.

Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles, shown here with Gov. Jerry Brown, has offered a bill to restore net neutrality in California.

Rich Pedroncelli, AP

Rich Pedroncelli, AP

Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles, shown here with Gov. Jerry Brown, has offered a bill to restore net neutrality in California.

Ethan Tarnarider, Staff Writer

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California has joined New York and Montana in resisting the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) repeal of net neutrality.

Lawmakers introduced two bills to the California State Senate that would force internet service providers (ISPs) to continue treating all data on the internet equally, without discriminating content.

Sen. Scott Wiener introduced the first bill, which is still being drafted. However, the Senate Bill 460, introduced by Sen. Kevin de León, has already passed the state Senate with a vote of 21–12 and is moving forward to the California State Assembly.

Benji Withop, a sophomore at Aragon High School, said, “I think net neutrality is great and getting it back is really good. The internet is one of the most used things in California and limiting or throttling it would make it worse for everyone but the ISPs.”

The State Senate just passed a motion prohibiting blocking, throttling and paid prioritization by landline and mobile ISPs under threat of an injunction and financial damages.

SB 460 now goes onto the state Assembly, which hosts a strong Democrat majority of 53–25.

Should it become law, SB 460 would preserve net neutrality for Californians, setting up another obstacle for ISPs that might take advantage of the FCC’s recent repeal.

In addition to preserving net neutrality protections, SB 460 also prohibits companies from using deceptive marketing “that misrepresent[s] the treatment of Internet traffic or content to its customers,” making it more difficult for ISPs to hide unfavorable changes from consumers.

Last week, New York became the second state to fight back against net neutrality rules when Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order that requires state officials to honor net neutrality principles. The order also requires ISPs with state contracts to adhere to the rules.

New York followed Montana, who became the first state to sign an executive order protecting net neutrality at a state level.

There has been a lot of talk around the country about how to respond to the recent decision by the Federal Communications Commission to repeal net neutrality rules, which keep the internet free and open. It’s time to actually do something about it,” Montana Gov. Steve Bullock said in a statement.

“This is a simple step that states can take to preserve and protect net neutrality. We can’t wait for folks in Washington, D.C., to come to their senses and reinstate these rules.”

California’s bill also differs from the two executive orders in that it more directly defies the FCC ruling; SB 460 would force ISPs to follow net neutrality rules, regardless of whether or not the company has a government contract.

This clause challenges a provision in the FCC’s repeal that prevents state and local governments from enacting laws to preserve net neutrality.

Legal advisors to the New York and Montana governors explained that executive orders regulating contracts with ISPs circumvent the FCC’s provision.

Either way, both the executive orders and the proposed California legislation — should it pass — will likely face lawsuits of their own.

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1 Comment

One Response to “California fights to bring net neutrality back”

  1. Andrew L Ghiglia on February 6th, 2018 9:53 pm

    The last two months, directly after net neutrality changes, Comcast has sent me notices that I’ve used all my data and that after two months of going over, I’ll have to pay 10 dollars every 50 gigs. Or, I can pay to upgrade my services, which would cost 40-50 more bucks a month. We don’t have cable, just steam Netflix, hbo, Hulu. This is an obvious gouge on people who canceled cable, poor people, working people. I’m a teacher, just trying to save money.

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The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.
California fights to bring net neutrality back