California is tackling the net neutrality head-on, according to The Verge. They have recently passed a bill that will ban internet service providers from blocking and throttling legal content and providing higher speeds for preferred sites. These rules would be in line with the Obama-era net neutrality laws, which were made moot by the Trump-era Federal Communications Commission led by Ajit Pai, who led the charge to repeal those laws.
What makes this bill unique is its complete ban on zero-rating —the practice of offering free data for particular websites and apps—which naturally shows preference to some sites and services over others. This California law does, however, allow ISP’s to offer free data for entire categories of apps, so long as they don’t exclusively provide those privileges to one business within one category. So, for example, an ISP could provide free data for browsing on Instagram, so long as they provide the same privileges for browsing on all other social media sites.
The bill was passed in the State Assembly after being originally passed in the California Senate. Because the bill underwent so many policy changes over the summer, it was recently voted on again, in which it passed in the Senate 23-11.
The bill has been met with support from high profile Democrats like House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senator Kamala Harris, and now needs to be signed by the California Governor, Jerry Brown.
ISP’s will most likely sue if the bill passed that stage. This is because the FCC recently passed a law prohibiting states from creating net neutrality laws, but this, like all of their other efforts to preempt state laws regarding net neutrality, will most likely be deemed unconstitutional.
Many other states have made efforts to combat the FCC’s attack on net neutrality, but California’s has been the most direct, as most o have relied on tactics like executive orders or generous loopholes, rather than California’s law that directly prohibits practices not in line with net neutrality.