California looks to adopt Obama-style net neutrality rules

by Edgar Hayes September 2, 2018, 2:50
California looks to adopt Obama-style net neutrality rules

The Assembly on Thursday voted 61-18 to pass what has been called the most comprehensive net neutrality bill in the nation, an answer to the Federal Communications Commission's repeal of Obama-era regulations.

California legislators signed off on Senate Bill 905, which will now head to Governor Jerry Brown for final approval.

The new bill will prohibit internet providers from blocking certain content or giving higher speeds to some kinds of internet sites over others.

Legislators clashed on the Assembly floor a day earlier over whether the state should step in to fill a role some said was best left to the federal government.

Governor Brown, a Democrat, has not indicated his view on the Bill, but it was widely supported by Democrats in the Legislature and by federal Democratic lawmakers from California like Nancy Pelosi, the House minority leader.

"It is a really overdue bill", said Sen.

The repeal came as a great win for internet providers.

"It would have huge implications for the USA, because California is so central to all things Net and is the world's eighth-largest economy", said Carl Tobias, a law professor at the University of Richmond.

Many advocates for net neutrality find the California legislation hopeful.

Assembly Bill 2658, authored by the body's Majority Leader Ian Calderon, D-Whittier, cleared the Assembly on August 27 and is headed to the governor.

The digital age requires more aggressive regulation, but it's a delicate balance between protecting consumers and companies.

The bill was opposed by internet service providers and some chambers of commerce, which prefer federal regulations because they say state-by-state rules can be confusing and tough to implement.

They were joined in that action a week later by a coalition of trade groups representing companies including Alphabet Inc, Facebook Inc and Inc.

But consumer groups and internet websites have been waging an effort in states to revive rules.

"We did it, we passed the strongest net neutrality standards in the nation", Democrat Scott Wiener, the bill's author, said in a written statement issued after the vote. "This historic Assembly vote is a testament to the power of the internet". "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".

In July, California passed its own version of GDPR, sending the tech community into a frenzy. "They're still paying attention".

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