California legislators have joined the parade of states passing net neutrality laws since the FCC abandoned federal rules requiring internet service providers to treat all internet traffic equally.
The California bill passed by legislators and awaiting Gov. Jerry Brown’s signature may be a case of being careful what you wish for. Internet service providers such as Verizon and Comcast lobbied for the FCC to abandon net neutrality rules put in place during the Obama administration. Now, they face tougher rules—at least in the largest state.
According to the New York Times:
The California bill is viewed as even stronger and more consumer-friendly than the original measures carried out by the Obama administration and abolished in December by the Trump-era Federal Communications Commission. It is sure to set up a fight between broadband providers, which say strict rules would increase their costs, and consumer groups, which seek to ensure that all traffic on the internet is treated equally.
It is the latest effort in a growing fight against deregulation by the Trump administration. Federal agencies that have slashed regulations on telecommunications are being challenged in court by more than 20 states. Thirty states have introduced bills to ensure net neutrality.
The California bill would have implications beyond the state’s borders and has the potential to shape the internet into the future, the Times reports.
“This bill would set a tremendous precedent, with the power to shape the internet market not just in California but across the country for the betterment of consumers,” Jonathan Schwantes, senior policy counsel for Consumers Union, said in a statement.
According to The Verge, the push by states to put their own net neutrality rules in place may be more difficult for telecom companies to handle than having federal rules. The Verge reports:
While ISPs lobbyists have largely succeeded on the federal level, fighting each individual state will be much harder. The entire west coast is now protected by state-level net neutrality rules, which is far from the victorious end game Comcast, Verizon and AT&T lobbyists envisioned.