With net neutrality a national campaign issue, California lawmakers must carry the flag

16 May 2018 by Steve Blum
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The effects of a U.S. senate vote on reinstating network neutrality rules will reverberate in the California legislature this year, even if – as expected – the resolution of disapproval dies along the way.

However it goes, the vote will draw a partisan line in the sand for democrats. As a result, you can expect them to make net neutrality a signature issue in California’s June primary and November general election, when they’ll try to capture the few remaining republican house seats here.… More

California net neutrality law can survive federal challenge, lawmakers told

25 April 2018 by Steve Blum
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The California senate’s judiciary committee approved, on a party line vote, a proposed net neutrality law, after hearing that it was at least defendable against the inevitable court challenges that cable and telephone companies would file. Senate bill 822 would define blocking, throttling, paid prioritisation and paid or provider-specific zero rating as unfair competition, and enforce those rules via civil lawsuits.

The big question was whether a Californian net neutrality law would withstand the Federal Communications Commission’s declaration that it was preempting state level broadband regulations.… More

California net neutrality bill bends to telco, cable wishes

23 April 2018 by Steve Blum
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It would still ban blocking, throttling, paid prioritisation and some kinds of zero rating, but a California senate committee has pulled some of the sharper enforcement teeth out of a bill to reinstate network neutrality rules. With one exception, though, definitions of banned and permitted practices remain the same.

Senate bill 822 was approved by the senate energy, utilities and communications committee last week on a party line vote, with the condition that undisclosed changes, negotiated behind closed doors, would be made.… More

AT&T, Comcast, Charter get net neutrality help from California senate friends

18 April 2018 by Steve Blum
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Network neutrality legislation moved ahead in the California senate yesterday, but it’s not clear what exactly it says. The senate’s energy, utilities and communications committee worked over senate bill 822, before endorsing it on a party line vote and sending it on to the judiciary committee. As is common practice in Sacramento, the committee didn’t vote on the published text of the bill, carried by senator Scott Wiener (D – San Francisco), but conceptually approved it, based on unpublished amendments negotiated secretly on Monday, which will be further modified by changes yet to be dictated by committee chair Ben Hueso (D – San Diego).… More

Oregon approves its own net neutrality revival

10 April 2018 by Steve Blum
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Beginning next year, local and state government agencies in Oregon won’t be able to buy broadband service from providers that don’t abide by the network neutrality principles signed into law yesterday by Oregon governor Kate Brown. The ban includes wireline, fixed wireless and mobile carriers, and extends to service subsidised by public agencies, as well as direct purchases.

An Internet service provider will be on the blacklist if it…

  • Engages in paid prioritization;
  • Blocks lawful content, applications or services or non-harmful devices;
  • Impairs or degrades lawful Internet traffic for the purpose of discriminating against or favoring certain Internet content, applications or services or the use of non-harmful devices;
  • Unreasonably interferes with or unreasonably disadvantages an end user’s ability to select, access and use the broadband Internet access service or lawful Internet content, applications or services or devices of the end user’s choice; or
  • Unreasonably interferes with or unreasonably disadvantages an edge provider’s ability to make devices or lawful content, applications or services available to end users.

California senate considers expanded net neutrality rights and enforcement tools

15 March 2018 by Steve Blum
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A second, more detailed network neutrality revival bill is on the table at the California capitol. Senator Scott Wiener (D – San Francisco) introduced senate bill 822 earlier this year, but it was little more than a statement of intent to jump into the Internet regulation void left by the Federal Communications Commission when it repealed network neutrality rules and stripped broadband of its common carrier status. He amended it on Tuesday, adding in a long list of outlawed practices and ways to enforce the ban.… More

Battle lines drawn in fight for state, local telecoms policy role

29 January 2018 by Steve Blum
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Update: the state senate approved SB 460 by a 21 to 12 vote and sent it on to the assembly.

The Federal Communications Commission can regulate some aspects of broadband deployment, but not all. That’s the picture painted by two complementary analyses of federal law and telecoms policy, one by the California senate’s judiciary committee staff and the other by attorneys working for the City of McAllen, Texas and endorsed by the cities of San Jose and New York.… More

Cable lobby argues California lawmakers should bless Internet slow lanes

25 January 2018 by Steve Blum
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Cable operators want to sell Internet fast lanes to those who are are willing to pay, thereby consigning those who don’t to the slow lane. That was the clear message from Carolyn McIntyre, the president of the California Cable and Telecommunications Association, which is the main lobbying front for Comcast, Charter and most other cable operators in the state. She spoke out against senate bill 460 – a network neutrality revival bill introduced by senator Kevin de Leon (D – Los Angeles) – during a senate judiciary committee hearing yesterday.… More

Now it's trial lawyers who are tagged as California's broadband cops

23 January 2018 by Steve Blum
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Update: SB 460 has been bucked to the California senate’s judiciary committee, where it’s due for a hearing tomorrow morning (Wednesday, 24 Jan 2018).

The latest version of a bill that aims to reinstate a network neutrality regime in California allows consumers to sue broadband companies that don’t abide by the three “bright line rules” that were thrown out last month by the Federal Communications Commission: no blocking, throttling or paid prioritisation.

The California senate’s appropriations committee’s endorsement of senate bill 460 last week included a promise to find a more appropriate net neutrality enforcer than the California Public Utilities Commission, as originally planned.… More

Prosecutors in, CPUC out as California's net neutrality enforcer

19 January 2018 by Steve Blum
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Democrats and republicans in Sacramento agree on at least two things: network neutrality rules are good and the job of enforcing them shouldn’t go to the California Public Utilities Commission. The California senate’s appropriations committee gave senate bill 460 a green light, and sent it on for a formal floor vote yesterday, after wrangling a promise of significant changes.

Senator Kevin de Leon (D – Los Angeles) authored SB 460. As originally written, it would have revived net neutrality rules that the Federal Communications Commission scrapped last month.… More