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by Karl Bode

Filed Under:
broadband, california, competition, net neutrality, states rights

at&t, comcast, verizon

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from the fat-lady-singing dept

Despite a rocky start, California has shaken off the lobbying influence of Comcast, AT&T and Verizon and passed meaningful net neutrality protections for the state's broadband residents. California's SB822, which pretty closely mirrors the FCC's discarded 2015 rules, almost had its most important parts stripped away courtesy of some early committee gamesmanship by AT&T. When that failed, ISP-connected lobbying and influence orgs tried to scare voters away from the effort by making misleading robocalls to state senior citizens insisting the bill would dramatically raise their phone bills.

Given the continued, overwhelming and bipartisan support for net neutrality, those efforts didn't work. SB822, which the EFF has called the "gold standard" for state-level rules, passed the California Assembly last Thursday, then managed to nab the necessary votes in the State Senate last Friday. It's now headed to the desk of California Governor Jerry Brown for signing:

Like most protections, the rules simply prevent ISPs from using their broadband monopolies to unfairly throttle, block, or censor competing content and services. Unlike weaker bills (like those being proposed by ISPs), the bill also takes aim at all of the creative anti-competitive efforts ISPs have been engaged in in recent years, from anti-competitive abuse of usage caps and overage fees (zero rating), to the anti-competitive abuse of interconnection points with transit operators and content companies.

With SB822's passage, the entire west coast is now covered with net neutrality rules thanks to laws passed in Oregon and Washington State; certainly not the end game most ISPs envisioned after spending millions to lobby the federal government.

You'll likely now hear ISPs, ISP lobbyists, and their literal armies of think tankers, payrolled academics, consultants and others whine incessantly for weeks about the unfairness of having to deal with numerous, discordant state-level protections. Of course none of these folks will acknowledge that's the telecom industry's fault, since this wouldn't be happening if they hadn't waged endless war on modest (by international standards), popular, and cohesive federal rules. Whatever your thoughts on net neutrality, this move was a reflection of what the public wanted (aka, Democracy).

ISPs will now shift their attention to slowing the spread of state laws, likely by suing individual states. They'll likely lean heavily on the "pre-emption" language Ajit Pai's FCC included in its net neutrality repeal at the behest of Comcast and WHITE ruched cut with out top detail ASOS shoulder White ASOS YEgxwqTt0, though early efforts by ISPs to use this language to dodge state oversight for terrible service haven't gone particularly well. Other lawyers have noted that when the FCC neutered its Title II authority under the Telecom Act at the behest of telecom monopolies, it also ironically eroded any authority to tell states what to do. Whoops.

The goal still needs to be to improve competition in the broadband space, since net neutrality violations are just a symptom of limited competition and a broken market. But until somebody in government grows a spine and is willing to stand up to deep-pocketed campaign contributors like Charter, AT&T, Verizon, CenturyLink and Comcast, net neutrality rules are the next best thing. Meanwhile, there's still a chance to restore the FCC's 2015 rules courtesy of the looming lawsuits headed the FCC direction; suits that will highlight the laundry list of bizarre and shady FCC behavior that accompanied the repeal.

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Jeffrey Nonken:
Taking down a review video? Dick move, Netflix.
Also, I wanted to f**king watch that.
Anonymous Anonymous Coward:
Textured in BOSS Elloy Buckle Leather Belt Black BOSS Logo Appeals competition is competative
Mason Wheeler: Appeals court: FCC can choose which set of facts it would prefer to believe.
Anonymous Anonymous Coward: Neither the Appeals Court, nor the FCC should be trying to change the definition of competition. The FTC is a bit different, but they get it wrong all the time as well. They just use economists that are paid to define things they way they want them to,
rather than how they should be.
Vidiot: But wait... I thought the Chairman feels that FTC can take over all that markeplace nonsense like NN. Guess he'll help out by first defining what (one-party) competition really is. Thanks, Boss!
Ninja: I've been having problems with adblocking in some pages. Mostly pages with a ton of clutter
Ars is one of the orst offenders right now. Every now and then I have to kill one tab from the ask manager to make it stop. Luckily it freezes only one core from the cpu.. Usually.
Any of you noticed something like that?
I'm using ublock
Anonymous Anonymous Coward: Ninja, that Ars article was already covered
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Jeffrey Nonken: Going back a few days to the "one ISP is competitive" thing... it's like when people say there's only one choice. If there's only one, it's not a choice, guys.
Same with "one option."
Ninja: @anon yeah but it's worth reding as well
I like reading different people writing about the same stuff, it lways add knowledge
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