California Lawmakers Pass Net Neutrality Bill

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California lawmakers rallied enough votes Friday to pass the nation's toughest net neutrality law to prevent internet providers from favoring certain websites, setting up a fight with federal regulators who voted previous year to erase such rules. Jerry Brown's desk, where a signature from the governor will restore tight internet regulations to the nation's most important market.

Republicans on the California Assembly floor said the bill was "going too far" and overstepped its authority on something the federal government should deal with, reports the Los Angeles Times.

Internet providers including Comcast and AT&T have lobbied against the law, and claim it could raise internet prices.

The bill would also ban "zero rating", according to NBC. The bill would also ban paid data cap exemptions (so-called "zero-rating") and says that ISPs may not attempt to evade net neutrality protections by slowing down traffic at network interconnection points.

"We passed the strongest net neutrality standards in the nation", San Francisco Democrat Scott Wiener, who co-wrote the bill, said in a statement. "So when Donald Trump's FCC chose to take a wrecking ball to net neutrality protections, we knew that California had to step in to ensure our residents have access to a free and open internet".

Meanwhile, net neutrality advocates cheered what they called a testament to the power of the internet.

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Supporters of the legislation believe that if the California bill becomes law, other states may follow suit and pass their own net neutrality bills.

The repeal came as a great win for internet providers.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., speaks during a news conference on a petition to force a vote on net neutrality on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.

Senate Bill 822 heads back to the state Senate, which must look at amendments introduced to the bill after senators endorsed it in May. Telecom companies said they wanted to experiment with business models such as free streaming promotions over mobile phones with business partners.

"Consumers expect a single, national approach to keeping our internet open, not the confusing patchwork of conflicting requirements passed today", said Jonathan Spalter, president at USTelecom, an industry group for telephone companies across the US. He said the new bill "undercuts California's long history as a vibrant catalyst for innovation and technology".

The final vote in the Assembly was 61-18-largely down party lines, with Democrats voting as a block of 55 in favor of the legislation. The Senate is expected to pass it today, the last day of the legislative session, and the governor will have about a month to consider it.

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