California’s Net Neutrality bill makes comeback, regains some key protections

California lawmakers agree on plan for 'strongest net neutrality protection' in nation

Calif. lawmakers reach agreement on strict net neutrality legislation | TheHill

A couple of weeks after a state assemblyman gutted a California net neutrality bill over the objections of its author, the two announced a deal to restore the measure's restrictions on Internet providers.

"For months, we have worked with a broad coalition to pass strong and enforceable net neutrality protections", Weiner, a Democrat from San Francisco, said in a statement Thursday.

Those same provisions have now been added back into the bill, and Wiener and Santiago seem to be on the same page this time around.

"Despite virtually no showing of harms or violations of any rules, and regardless of strong federal and state regulatory and enforcement safeguards now in place, SB 822 goes beyond the previous 2015 Net Neutrality Rules, including the creation of untenable procurement requirements and enforcement by multiple forums", the email said. The compromise legislation would prohibit internet service providers from charging websites fees for faster service while blocking or slowing websites that do not pay extra. ISPs will also be prohibited from circumventing these protections at the point where data enters their networks and from charging access fees to reach ISP customers.

Wiener's bill got national attention because its protections go beyond the FCC's 2015 net neutrality "bright line" rules by including provisions like limits on discriminatory zero-rating, a business practice that allows broadband providers like AT&T to exempt their own services from their monthly wireless data caps, while services from competitors are counted against those limits.

The bill must be approved by the full Assembly and Senate to be sent to Gov. "California leads the fight for a free and open internet that doesn't discriminate or price users or content differently".

"After Donald Trump's FCC obliterated net neutrality, we stepped in to protect California residents and businesses and to ensure an open internet", Wiener said.

"Citizens United, the Janus decision and now the threat of a Supreme Court nomination under Trump makes this net neutrality legislation more important than ever", he said.

The lawmakers say they will release the new bill language next month, when the Legislature returns from its recess.

"We support a federal solution", Carolyn McIntyre, president of the California Cable & Telecommunications Association, has said at various hearings about SB 822, including the most recent one June 26 before the state Assembly's Privacy and Consumer Protection Committee.

AT&T representatives, who have opposed both previous versions of the legislation as overreaching, did not provide an immediate comment on the amended bill Thursday.

Wiener noted Thursday that he and Santiago came to an agreement "the old-fashioned way: We sat down and had a good dialogue". "The telecom and cable companies fight hard".

This article was originally published at 11:30 a.m.

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