California Net Neutrality Bill Passes State Senate

California bill SB 822, often referred to as the net neutrality bill, has now passed by the California State Senate with a vote of 23 to 12, moving the legislation forward to the State Assembly. The bill has been in the works effectively since the FCC voted to end Title II Net Neutrality regulations late in 2017. The purpose of the bill is, of course, to protect consumers and content providers against anti-competitive behaviors. To that end, it's also quite a bit more comprehensive than the rules ended by the FCC and have garnered a substantial amount of support - including the introduction of similar legislation elsewhere.

As to what the bill itself contains, that's fairy straightforward. In effect, it actively prohibits providers of either mobile or fixed internet services from treating any traffic on the network differently. Beyond that, there are provisions in place that prevent content providers or other businesses operating over the internet from being forced to pay for access to users on a network. It also expressly prohibits paid prioritization of traffic and limits an internet service provider (ISP) with regard to "zero-rating" initiatives. The latter of those means that companies operating as ISPs cannot, for example, offer their own media services without counting it against the user's data consumption. In order to do that, they'd have to provide the same zero-rating for all content or applications falling into that service's category, including competing services.

There's no guarantee that the bill will pass through the State Assembly to become law. However, it has been designed to be relatively robust in that any challenge to any one of its provisions will not derail the entire bill. Instead, the provisions are separated and independently resolvable, as needs require, in case any one of them is found to be in violation of other laws. What's more, the bill reportedly has the support of several dozen California mayors, public interest groups, and former FCC commissioners. But beyond those types of organizations, it's also had the support of over 200 small businesses and more than 60 tech companies and startups. Bearing that in mind, as of this writing, its passage seems much more likely than not.

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Daniel Golightly

Senior Staff Writer
Daniel has been writing for AndroidHeadlines since 2016. As a Senior Staff Writer for the site, Daniel specializes in reviewing a diverse range of technology products and covering topics related to Chrome OS and Chromebooks. Daniel holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Software Engineering and has a background in Writing and Graphics Design that drives his passion for Android, Google products, the science behind the technology, and the direction it's heading. Contact him at [email protected]
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