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August 31, 2018 02:01 PM UTC

The Blueprint for State Net Neutrality Laws

  • by: Colorado Pols

In late 2017, the Republican-controlled Federal Communications Commission (FCC) decided to murder “Net Neutrality” in a 3-2 party-line vote. Efforts have been ongoing to get Congress to override the FCC’s decision, but the lack of movement in Washington D.C. means that it probably falls to individual states to prevent Internet service providers from creating “slow and fast lanes,” throttling speeds, and blocking or restricting access to individual websites at will (read this for more on why Net Neutrality is so important).

As Ars Technica reports today, California lawmakers have come up with a Net Neutrality proposal that is being touted as the “gold standard” for similar laws across the country:

The bill would prohibit Internet service providers from blocking or throttling lawful traffic, and from requiring fees from websites or online services to deliver or prioritize their traffic to consumers. The bill also imposes limits on data cap exemptions (so-called “zero-rating”) and says that ISPs may not attempt to evade net neutrality protections by slowing down traffic at network interconnection points…

…”ISPs have tried hard to gut and kill this bill, pouring money and robocalls into California,” Electronic Frontier Foundation Policy Analyst Katharine Trendacosta wrote after the vote.

With Senate action pending, “California could pass a gold standard net neutrality bill, providing a template for states going forward,” Trendacosta continued. “California can prove that ISP money can’t defeat real people’s voices.”

If you’re still not convinced about the need to preserve Net Neutrality, just read this paragraph:

The bill recently gained support from groups representing firefighters, who are angry at Verizon for throttling Santa Clara County Fire’s “unlimited data” while it was fighting the state’s largest-ever wildfire. [Pols emphasis]

Colorado lawmakers can push for state-level Net Neutrality protections when the legislature reconvenes in January. They should start (and end) with this blueprint from California.

[Hat tip to “Pseudonymous” for the link.]


5 thoughts on “The Blueprint for State Net Neutrality Laws

  1. Calif. Senate approves net neutrality rules, sends bill to governor

    With both legislative houses having approved the bill, California Governor Jerry Brown has until September 30 to sign it into law.

    The final vote was 27-12, with all 26 Democratic senators and Republican Senator Ling Ling Chang voting in favor. All 12 no votes came from Republican senators. In the Assembly yesterday, six Republicans joined 55 Democrats to pass the bill in a 61-18 vote.

  2. a. Pitching it as "from California" and anyone, anywhere, ever following California's lead – is losing messaging 
    R's and most I's near me believe CAlifornia is right up there with Somalia as a failed state.  

    2.  the issue is oddly confusing to a lot of people.  The Burker King add was good – people didn't get it. Comparing internet access and neutrality to phone service seems straightforward (what if you could not call a Verizon phone number if you have T-Mobile/Sprint phone?) but still confuses a lot of people.

    iii. The bigger deal is cyber security and relevant requirements should be part of the net neutrality law.

    1. a) OK.  Pitch them for what they are.

      2)  I've never found it to be confusing to people to whom I've explained it.  It's a pretty straightforward proposition:

      When you purchase internet service, should you be able to use all the sites on the internet– like YouTube, Netflix, Pandora, Amazon, Facebook, Google– without your cable or phone company charging you extra or deciding to block or slow down your connection to some of those places?

      There's no need to get into more convoluted topics like paid prioritization, interconnection, QoS, incumbency/CLECs & ILECs, local loop unbundling, etc.

      iii) I disagree that cyber security generally should be part of net neutrality law; honestly, I'm not even sure what that would look like.  First, the net should be regulated under Title II common carrier provisions.  To the extent states need to legislate separately because the feds won't, they should approximate this; perhaps along with other consumer protections that logically fall in with those already in Title 2, since Title 2 is essentially a consumer protection mechanism, but even those might be better in a separate data protection law.


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