California Assembly passes net neutrality bill


"When Donald Trump's FCC made a decision to take a wrecking ball to net neutrality protections, we knew that California had to step in to ensure our residents have access to a free and open internet", State Senator Scott Wiener, a Democrat and one of the Bill's authors, said in a statement.

The Washington Post reported that the vote from California lawmakers could set up a fight with federal regulators who moved previous year to repeal net neutrality. In June, Gov. Brown signed into law a sweeping new privacy law. If things go that far, it's expected to set up a legal challenge by the Republican-led Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

The Assembly and Senate adjourned shortly before midnight Friday after voting to let power companies raise electric bills to cover the cost of lawsuits from last year's deadly wildfires.

The bill still needs Governor Jerry Brown's signature to become law, however. Thirty states have introduced Bills to ensure net neutrality.

The legislation primarily prohibits plans that exempt the same type of content from some companies over others - video streamed on YouTube but not Hulu, for example.

If the bill becomes law, some of Silicon Valley's biggest corporations might have to make changes. The bill, SB822, not only restores the net neutrality rules that were put into place by former President Barack Obama, but goes even to ban internet service providers from practices like throttling in favor of select content and zero-rating services. Industry groups are urging Governor Brown to veto the bill.

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"ISPs have tried hard to gut and kill this bill, pouring money and robocalls into California", said Katharine Trendacosta, policy analyst for Electronic Frontier Foundation, in a letter to supporters after the Assembly vote.

Internet providers say they've publicly committed to upholding the values of net neutrality, but strict rules like California's would inhibit investment in faster technology. The rules prevented internet companies from exercising more control over what people watch and see on the internet.

The company is potentially on the hook for billions of dollars if its equipment is ultimately blamed for wildfires that destroyed thousands of homes in Northern California wine country last October, the most expensive fire storm in state history.

The repeal came as a great win for internet providers.

Net neutrality activists cited their legislative victory Friday as a validation of their congressional strategy: to pressure vulnerable federal lawmakers who are running for reelection this year to endorse stronger net neutrality rules at a national level. "They're still paying attention".