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California considers law to restore net neutrality to the state

A bill introduced in the California legislature to counter the Trump administration’s ending of net neutrality would stop internet service providers (ISPs) “from slowing access and exempting certain content from customers’ data plans.” (Courthouse News Service, March 14, 2018, by Nick Cahill)

In drafting the bill, state Senator Scott Wiener consulted Stanford law professor Barbara van Schewick who said the bill would close a key loophole by preventing service providers from charging access fess for sending data to broadband consumers. The bill also stems data cap exemptions or “zero-rating,” stating “An Internet service provider may zero-rate Internet traffic in application-agnostic ways, without violating [the proposed law], provided that no consideration, monetary or otherwise, is provided by any third party in exchange for the provider’s decision to zero-rate or to not zero-rate traffic.” The professor also thinks the bill will survive a FCC rule against state adoption of net neutrality laws since since the FCC stripped itself of regulatory powers. (Ars Technica, March 14, 2018, by Jon Brodkin)

In techdirt, March 15, 2018, Karl Bode wrote that the bill was “…a much tougher, more comprehensive proposal [than another bill] that would prohibit not only the blocking and throttling of websites and services by ISPs, but would ban “paid prioritization” deals that would allow deep-pocketed content companies (like, say, ESPN) from buying an unfair advantage against smaller competitors and startups. The bill also takes aim at the kind of interconnection shenanigans and double dipping that resulted in Netflix performance issues back in 2014, while leaving the door open to reasonable network management practices.”

For other related FAC coverage, click here and here.

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