California Senate Passes Net Neutrality Regs

Restores Open Internet order rules against blocking, throttling, paid prioritization

The California State Senate has passed a bill that would restore the net neutrality rules excised Dec. 14 by the FCC's Republican majority, and add a few more for good measure. The vote was 22 to 12 (seven chose not to cast votes).

The bill was sent to the California Assembly Jan. 30, where Democrats also hold the majority. If it passes, it will definitely tee up a legal battle with the FCC, as the agency's Restoring Internet Freedom Order asserts the right to preempt state attempts to restore the rules.

Related: Governors of New York, Montana Mandate Net Neutrality in Broadband Contracts

The bill was introduced in February 2017 in anticipation of the Republican FCC's rollback of the rules.

The California law would restore the FCC regs and add a few of its own. It would be illegal in the state to do any of the following:

"(a) Blocking lawful content, applications, services, or nonharmful devices, subject to reasonable network management practices.

"(b) Impairing or degrading lawful Internet traffic on the basis of Internet content, application, or service, or use of a nonharmful device, subject to reasonable network management practices.

"(c) Engaging in paid prioritization, or providing preferential treatment of some Internet traffic to any Internet customer.

"(d) Unreasonably interfering with, or unreasonably disadvantaging, either a customer’s ability to select, access, and use broadband Internet access service or lawful Internet content, applications, services, or devices of the customer’s choice, or an edge provider’s ability to make lawful content, applications, services, or devices available to a customer.

"(e) Engaging in deceptive or misleading marketing practices that misrepresent the treatment of Internet traffic or content to its customers.

"(f) Advertising, offering for sale, or selling broadband Internet access service without prominently disclosing with specificity all aspects of the service advertised, offered for sale, or sold."

The bill also incorporates a provision that prevents state agency's from contracting with an ISP unless they pledged not to do any of the following, though that seems overkill since that conduct would be illegal in the state anyway.