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Explanatory. California’s Neutral Neutrality Act is coming to life

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More than three years ago, Trump-era regulators killed purely neutral federal regulations designed to prevent AT&T, Comcast, Verizon, and other major ISPs from dominating some services or applications over others. In response, the seven states of Puerto Rico adopted a policy of pure neutrality. The largest effort of its kind has taken place in California, which will begin enforcing the law on Thursday, with potentially significant repercussions for the rest of the United States.



In short, this is the principle that ISPs should treat all web traffic equally to ensure a free and open network. It’s almost like the Internet has worked since its inception. Consumer advocates like Internet companies like Mozilla և Democrats were concerned that huge broadband providers could use their power to boost their own businesses.



It follows the outlines of the Obama administration-era federal regulations raised by the Trump administration. The rule prohibited Internet providers like Comcast or AT&T from slowing down or blocking access to websites or charging Internet companies such as Netflix for sending customers faster. California law has even gone so far as to ban some “zero rating” horses, which means when a cable or telephone company exempts service from data coverage. Advocates of online neutrality say that such programs distort competition by potentially turning users away from sponsored applications away from competitors.

The Trump administration has sued to block the 2018 California law, preventing it from coming into force for years. The Biden administration rejected the lawsuit. The telecommunications industry is still fighting the law, but a judge ruled in February that California could start doing so.



Efforts to enforce federal net neutrality rules go back more than a decade. The courts thwarted efforts until 2015, when the Democrat-led FCC enacted stronger rules based on the 1934 Basic Communications Act. In addition to the standard protection of pure neutrality, the order also gave the FCC broad powers to engage with companies in practices that were not explicitly prohibited. The courts upheld the rules, but Trump’s FCC overturned them, saying they were “heavy, utility-style regulations” that barred investment in Internet infrastructure.

Opponents of neutrality have argued since the law was passed that the Internet is safe. Proponents of her case have been working to make the actual transcript of this statement available online.



California’s flawless size means new law could be waved At mid-March, AT&T said it would end its nationwide zero-rating program because California law prohibits it. This privilege allowed AT&T wireless customers, who did not have unlimited plans, to watch AT&T-owned streaming applications such as HBO Max on their phones without consuming data. AT&T, which now focuses on selling unlimited software, did not say how many people were affected.

President Biden has yet to nominate a possible third Democrat to win the Senate approval of the Senate before the FCC can reconsider its policy of neutrality. FCC proceedings can usually take months, if not years.

Other states may enact their own neutrality laws before the federal government takes action. Nine states introduced purely neutral bills at this session, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.



Large telecommunications companies hate stricter rules based on network neutrality rules and have fought fiercely in court. They say the regulations could undermine broadband investment, creating uncertainty about what acceptable business practices are. They say they prefer a state-to-state approach, but the industry has struggled against previous federal rules of network neutrality. And the Senate, which is divided between the 50-50 parties, cannot get enough support in Congress to pass legislation.


WHAT DOES Silicon Valley FALL?

Net neutrality is no longer a hot button problem for tech companies. Matt Schroers, president of the Computer and Communications Industry Association, acknowledges that while the problem remains, network neutrality has been “diverted” by a number of other technology policy issues, including the coronavirus and economic crises.

For example, federal regulators are suing Facebook and Google for allegedly abusing their market power. Amazon և Apple also encountered queries. Democrats are pushing for antitrust laws to make it harder for dominant companies to buy smaller competitors. Lawmakers have proposed revising a legal provision called Section 230, which currently protects Internet companies from liability for their users’ messages. Social media companies are scrutinized for their privacy և content moderation decisions.

Some of the early gains in net neutrality had already fallen behind. Netflix said in 2017 that it was too popular among users to be blocked by broadband providers. Facebook և Google did not respond to questions about California’s enforcement of the law. Netflix declined to comment. A group of seven small technology organizations, including Mozilla, Reddit, Wikimedia և Security Signal Company ADT, on Friday called on the FCC to restore its rules of pure neutrality.


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