California Passes Net Neutrality Bill

Last month, the California legislature passed the California Internet Consumer Protection and Net Neutrality Act of 2018. The bill is in response to the Federal Communications Commission’s recent repeal of the February 2015 “Open Internet Order.”

Oregon Vermont and Washington have also passed net neutrality legislation. Governors in Hawaii, New Jersey, New York, Montana, Rhode Island and Vermont have signed net neutrality related executive orders.

The California Net Neutrality bill Prohibits ISPs from engaging in certain activities that impact a consumer’s ability to lawfully access content on the internet, including, but not limited to:

  • Intentionally blocking lawful content, slowing or speeding traffic, or otherwise interfering with access to lawful content on the basis of source, destination, internet content, application, or service, or use of a non-harmful device;
  • Engaging in third-party paid prioritization;
  • Selectively zero-rating some internet content, applications, services, or devices or zero-rating in exchange for consideration or payment;
  • Engaging in practices that have the purpose of evading net neutrality requirements.

The California legislation is the strongest net neutrality standards in the country. California Governor Brown has until September 30th to sign the bill. It is anticipated that, if signed, litigation will ensure with respect to whether the FCC’s recent Order preempts state regulation.

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