California Net Neutrality Passes, Trump Administration Sues
The new California net neutrality law bars internet companies from blocking or slowing consumers from accessing content and from favoring the content of high-profile companies.
California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a statewide net neutrality law on Sunday, setting the stage for a showdown between California and the federal government over internet access. A few other states have passed net neutrality bills, but the California net neutrality law is considered the most comprehensive and strictest. In response, the federal government promptly filed a lawsuit against California, internet companies could follow with their own lawsuits against California.
Just last year, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) revoked regulations that hindered internet companies from controlling the content that people access online. But California’s net neutrality law puts those regulations back in place. Internet companies in California will now have to operate on a level playing field in regard to what people see online and not offer preferential speed or treatment to some websites.
Federal Government Filed a Lawsuit, Internet Companies May Likely Do the Same
California’s new law takes a stand against the Trump administration’s agenda to repeal net neutrality. But the federal government vowed to challenge California and did so when the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) filed the lawsuit on Sunday.
According to the federal lawsuit, California went beyond their rights to impose net neutrality protections, claiming the protections are “unlawful and anti-consumer.” Furthermore, the DOJ argues the law unfairly burdens internet companies with regulations and contradicts the federal government’s approach to the issue.
While U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has vowed to represent the federal government in the case, internet companies might also likely head to court to sue the state of California.
Internet organizations tried in vain to stop the California law or reduce its impact but were unsuccessful. According to them, internet and phone bills will rise under the new law and this would subsequently lower investments in faster internet. Internet companies also argue it is impossible for them to comply with internet regulations that vary from one state to the other.
New Law Provides a Level Playing Ground for Internet Companies to Favor All Users
Supporters of net neutrality say without the law, internet companies could unfairly restrict user access to websites, by providing preferred sites such as high-paying clients with faster internet speed and slowing down the speed of unpreferred sites.
This would reduce internet content available to consumers as well as make it harder for new startups that are cash poor to pay for fast lanes.
The new California law, written by Sen. Scott Wiener of San Francisco, bars internet companies from blocking or slowing consumers from accessing content and from favoring the content of high-profile companies. The measure also bans zero rating – which is when internet providers don’t count certain content against a users monthly data quota.
Oregon, Washington and Vermont have also passed bills on net neutrality, but California’s is considered the toughest and most codified. New York also has a similar legislation at the moment.