On Monday evening, January 29, the California State Senate approved SB-460, a bill requiring that an ISP operating in the State of California follow state net neutrality requirements. ISPs who do not follow state provisions will not be allowed to operate in California, thereby forfeiting billions in anticipated revenue.
With passage of SB-460 California joins Montana, New York, and over a dozen additional states in a push-back against the recent FCC rollback of net neutrality.
The California net neutrality bill firmly disallows paid or otherwise preferential treatment to any Internet traffic or Internet customer, while also making it illegal for ISPs to limit customer selection, access, broadband Internet access, or access to lawful Internet content, applications, services or devices.
In addition, the bill prohibits state agencies from acquiring internet services from ISPs who do not adhere to state net neutrality rules, while charging any ISP who misrepresents its adherence to state net neutrality laws with perjury.
Backing up SB-460 is SB-822, another net neutrality bill under consideration, introduced by Senator Scott Weiner (D-San Francisco). Both bills are likely to be merged into one law once details are sorted out.
California’s SB-460 is the most expansive of any state net neutrality action so far, in that it calls for punitive action against ISPs who knowingly avoid or violate state net neutrality law.
In response to state push-backs, ISPs such as Verizon, Comcast, AT&T, and Cox Communications, who were initially looking towards FCC net neutrality rollbacks as allowing profits through high-priced fast lane charges extracted from companies like Amazon, Apple, Netflix, and Spotify, must reformat their access rules. Many ISPs are now contemplating a checkered pattern of multiple access rules in respect to the state in which they operate.
Even if the federal government enforces the FCC ban on independent state net neutrality laws, ISPs see the ‘war’ that could ensue as being bad for business. The following video details the FCC ban on state laws concerning its net neutrality rollback.
In addition to numerous state net neutrality laws and executive orders, cost-effective high-speed and consumer-supported taxpayer-funded ISPs are on the rise, posing yet another challenge to FCC net neutrality rollbacks.
Once again the State of California places itself at the forefront of advocating for the public with the SB-460 dispensation of the FCC net neutrality rollback.