Published: Mon, October 01, 2018
Money | By Armando Alvarado

California's 'gold standard' net neutrality becomes law

California's 'gold standard' net neutrality becomes law

The lawsuit argues that California's approach is "unlawful and anti-consumer" because it imposes burdensome regulations on the Internet and goes against the federal government's approach. Brown's signing on Sunday night. U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said today, "Once again the California Legislature has enacted an extreme and illegal state law attempting to frustrate federal policy".

The Federal Communications Commission previous year repealed rules that prevented internet companies from exercising more control over what people watch and see on the internet.

Up against a midnight deadline, Brown, a Democrat, signed a bill Sunday that makes the Obama-era net neutrality protections state law.

The Trump administration rules were a win for providers like Comcast Corp (CMCSA.O), AT&T Inc (T.N) and Verizon Communications Inc (VZ.N), but the net neutrality repeal was opposed by internet companies like Facebook Inc (FB.O), Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O) and Alphabet Inc (GOOGL.O).

California attorney general Xavier Becerra said the Trump Administration was ignoring "millions of Americans who voiced strong support for net neutrality rules", while California, which is "home to countless start-ups, tech giants and almost 40 million consumers - will not allow a handful of power brokers to dictate sources for information or the speed at which websites load". Connie Leyva, D-Chino, would have required university health centers to offer women medical abortions on campus by January 1, 2022.

SB 822 is widely regarded as the best state-level net neutrality bill in the country.

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"This is a historic day for California".

"Courts have consistently held that when the federal government lacks authority to regulate, it can not preempt states from regulating", said Andrew Schwartzman, a lecturer in public interest law at Georgetown University.

Telecommunications companies lobbied hard to kill it or water it down, saying it would lead to higher internet and cellphone bills and discourage investments in faster internet. According to Marc Martin, a telecom attorney at the firm Perkins Coie, there is precedent for the federal government to say it won't regulate a certain interstate commerce issue and then to seek to prevent states from filling the gap.

It prohibits internet providers from blocking or slowing data based on content or from favouringwebsites or video streams from companies that pay extra. In light of the FCC's more recent deregulatory order, federal officials are asking for California's net neutrality law to be invalidated, and industry groups are expected to join the effort.

That could limit consumer choice or shut out upstart companies that can't afford to buy access to the fast lane, critics say.

California's measure is likely to face a legal challenge from internet companies. An identical bill was introduced in NY.

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