California lawmakers pass toughest net neutrality law


California lawmakers have passed the US' toughest net neutrality law to prevent internet providers from favouring certain websites, setting up a fight with federal regulators who voted past year to erase such rules. Not only doubling down but improving on previous measures, the legislation would protect consumers from being charged extra for access to websites and provide consistent speeds and quality for streaming services.

An additional proposal, Senate Bill 460, by Democratic Sen.

Internet companies say they're committed to upholding net neutrality principles but it's unrealistic for them to comply with different regulations around the country.

"We did it, we passed the strongest net neutrality standards in the nation", Democrat Scott Wiener, the bill's author, said in a written statement issued after the vote.

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Members of the California Assembly voted 58-17 to send the bill to their colleagues in the state Senate, who have until midnight to pass so-called SB 822 on the final day of the legislative session or wait until next year.

More than 20 states are suing the FCC to overturn the agency's decision on net neutrality and almost three dozen states have introduced bills to replace the defunct regulations with three states have already approved them. The bill now goes to Brown for signature into law.

Some are opposed to the new California bill.

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The legislation primarily prohibits plans that exempt the same type of content from some companies over others - video streamed on YouTube but not Hulu, for example. The bill needs only Senate concurrence, or agreement with Assembly revisions, before heading to Brown's desk too - but that must happen by midnight on August 31, the final day of the legislative session. Almost three dozen states have introduced bills to replace the defunct regulations, and three states have already approved them.

Industry groups have said a single, uniform law written by Congress would be far more effective at guaranteeing net neutrality protections for internet users. However, it's likely that it will face court challenges on a federal level, given that the FCC said that its order preempts states' rights, and therefore they're not allowed to restore the rules.

The bill was passed in the state Senate yesterday with a vote of 23-11, reports the Verge.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation, an advocacy group that supports online privacy, called it "a victory that can be replicated".

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Internet service providers echoed Pai's language about regulatory measures, calling California's bill "heavy-handed".