- The California net neutrality bill just had a huge victory with the California Assembly voting in favor of the rules in a landslide.
- The bill — which is even stricter than the recently-dissolved federal mandates — now moves on to the California Senate.
- If the bill becomes California law, it could have major ramifications for the rest of the country.
A California net neutrality bill that is even stricter than the recently-dissolved federal mandates just attained a huge victory: a 59-18 vote in the California Assembly, via Variety.
With this success under the bill’s belt, it now moves on to the California Senate, where a vote is expected next week. If it passes there, it will head to Governor Jerry Brown’s desk, who will then either sign or veto the bill.
If the bill becomes law in California, it could cause a legal quarrel between California and the Trump administration. The FCC — which dissolved Obama-era net neutrality rules earlier this year — is led by Trump-appointed Ajit Pai. The FCC has the power to supersede state-created bills that go against FCC mandates. As such, if net neutrality becomes California law, the FCC could take the state to court to overturn the bill.
However, other states already have their own bills in the works, which would spread the FCC’s resources incredibly thin fighting them all.
If the California bill makes it into law and the FCC doesn’t fight it, there could be major ramifications for the rest of the country when it comes to internet service. It will be difficult for nationwide ISPs like Comcast, Time Warner, and Verizon to enforce different policies in different areas of the country. In other words, a few states could force ISPs to adopt strict rules nationwide, regardless of the FCC’s federal ruling.
The wildly successful vote comes only a week after the net neutrality-themed scandal in which Verizon Wireless throttled cellular data for the Santa Clara County Fire Department, which was at the time engaged with the largest wildfire on California record. Verizon claimed that the throttling of internet data for fire rescue teams in the field had “nothing to do with net neutrality.”
Whether Verizon thinks it did or not, it is highly likely that the events surrounding the throttling of Santa Clara County Fire Department’s data played at least a minor role in the sweeping victory for this net neutrality bill yesterday.
Verizon announced it would offer a completely unlimited data plan with no throttling shortly after the Santa Clara County scandal broke. That plan hasn’t yet been officially announced.