Internet service providers (ISPs) in California are worried that stricter net neutrality laws are in their future. The fears stem from the noise AT&T and the lobby group that represents Comcast, Charter, Cox and other cable companies have been raising to California lawmakers, and from the upcoming hearings on a bill “that could impose the toughest net neutrality law in the nation,” Ars Technica says.
The bill includes the Federal Communications Commissions’ (FCC) net neutrality rules from 2015, and will ban paid zero-rating arrangements in which home or mobile internet providers charge online services for data cap exemptions, according to Ars Technica. AT&T and the California Cable & Telecommunications Association (CCTA) have given documents to lawmakers “describing ways in which the proposed bill is allegedly too strict compared to the FCC rules that are slated to be taken off the books.”
What decision makers need to know:
According to Ars Technica, the AT&T and CCTA analyses show that the organizations appear to favor the FCC’s rules instead of California’s potentially new rules. The analyses criticized the new bill “for going beyond the FCC rules,” and argue that the FCC’s 2015 net neutrality order clearly defined relevant terms, and minimized confusion about those terms. ISPs have been making it known that they shouldn’t have to deal with a “patchwork” of different state laws through the country, but certain lawmakers don’t agree.
“You can’t go and get federal net neutrality protections repealed and then be surprised and indignant and complain that states are stepping in to protect consumers and the economy,” California sentor Scott Wiener told Ars Technica.
Ars Technica also says that there are many net neutrality proposals in California legislature in addition to this one, and it is possible for this latest bill to be rejected for a more lenient law. As a result, decision makers conducting business in the Golden State should pay attention to the outcome of this proposal, and what actions are headed down the pike. That way, they are able to evaluate their net neutrality options, especially which ones will benefit their business or institution, and act accordingly. Similarly, decision makers in other states might consider the outcome of this bill, too; they might see legislation battles on their own turf, and will need to develop a game plan on how conduct their own business, and roll with future federal punches.