CA Governor Signs Nation’s Strongest Net Neutrality Bill Into Law
California Governor Jerry Brown has signed the state’s toughest net neutrality bill into effect. The bill will prevent internet service providers from blocking or throttling web content or specific websites, in addition to implementing a ban on having paid prioritization for internet content. While there have been a number of states who have made steps toward implementing similar laws of their own, California stands above the rest as being the toughest, since the FCC voted to repeal net neutrality at the federal level in 2017.
Consequently, when the bill was signed into law, the federal government immediately moved to file a lawsuit against the state of California, claiming “Senate Bill 822, an Internet regulation bill signed into law earlier today by Governor Jerry Brown, unlawfully imposes burdens on the Federal Government’s deregulatory approach to the Internet.”
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has gone so far as to call the bill “illegal” and has labeled it as “a risk to the rest of the country.” He said he was “pleased” to see that the federal government issued a lawsuit against the state, in addition to saying, “The Internet is free and open today, and it will continue to be under the light-touch protections of the FCC’s Restoring Internet Freedom Order.”
Attorney General Jeff Sessions affirmed his faith with the power of the federal government, saying “Once again the California legislature has enacted an extreme and illegal state law attempting to frustrate federal policy. The Justice Department should not have to spend valuable time and resources to file this suit today, but we have a duty to defend the prerogatives of the federal government and protect our Constitutional order.”
Nevertheless, the California legislature has stated that it is ready to defend this new law, with CA Attorney General Xavier Becerra telling the LA Times his agency will require increased funding and staff to fully see through these new regulatory duties. Bacerra told the LA Times, “While the Trump Administration continues to ignore the millions of Americans who voiced strong support for net neutrality rules, California — home to countless start-ups, tech giants and nearly 40 million consumers — will not allow a handful of power brokers to dictate sources for information or the speed at which websites load.”
As expected, the bill has been openly opposed by ISP’s like Comcast, AT&T, and Verizon. Jonathan Spalter, President and CEO of US Telecom, issued a statement saying, “We all support strong and enforceable net neutrality protections for every American – regardless of where they may live. But this bill is neither the way to get there, nor will it help advance the promise and potential of California’s innovation DNA. Rather than 50 states stepping in with their own conflicting open internet solutions, we need Congress to step up with a national framework for the whole internet ecosystem and resolve this issue once and for all.”
While the rules likely won’t go into effect until next year, this has already made waves in the telecom and ISP industry. Until then, the state of California is gearing up to defend its new legislation.