California assemblyman gives in; road is now clear for California's net neutrality bill to pass

California assemblyman gives in; road is now clear for California's net neutrality bill to pass
When we last checked in on SB 822, the California bill that proposed a legislative workaround to the FCC's dismantling of net neutrality, the bill's sponsor (State Senator Scott Wiener) was talking about keeping the bill alive by negotiating with Assemblyman Miguel Santiago. It was Santiago, a Democrat, who added amendments to the original bill in the State Assembly making it, in the words of State Senator Wiener, "not worth passing."

Santiago was attacked on social media for his stance, especially when it was discovered that AT&T contributed to his campaigns. The Assemblyman said that he watered down SB 822 because he was concerned that consumers would lose the benefit of zero-rated plans if the bill passed as written. 

Apparently, Wiener and Santiago were able to work out their differences and the latter agreed to put back the provisions of the bill that he removed. And that should provide a clear passage for the bill to become law. The California State Assembly is run by Democrats and Governor Jerry Brown is one as well. This is outstanding news for supporters of net neutrality since a number of other states have similar bills going through the legislative process. Many are looking at California to gauge the chances of their own success.

For those not familiar with the backstory, net neutrality forces ISPs and wireless providers to treat all streaming content the same. It prevents an ISP or wireless carrier from getting paid extra by a streaming content provider for the use of an "express lane" offering faster data speeds, and improved resolution. It also prevents these carriers from blocking certain content that they might not agree with philosophically.


The Obama-era FCC passed net neutrality back in 2015 only to have the Trump FCC take it off the books last month. Considering that the lack of net neutrality could lead to consumers paying higher prices for subscriptions to video and audio streamers, and taking into consideration AT&T's recent $85 billion acquisition of Time Warner, there is a lot of money at stake here for both consumers and carriers.

source: BGR

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16 Comments

1. Doakie

Posts: 2478; Member since: May 06, 2009

Does anyone have proof that Net Neutrality actually saved anyone at the consumer level money? I haven't heard of any situations where it actually did anything. I'm not saying I'm opposed to it. I just don't know if it's actually needed or if it's just another power grab.

2. Arch_Fiend

Posts: 3951; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

It's not something you'd ever hear about as net neutrality was a shield, it's the next few years without it that will tell you if it actually saved you money or not. I suppose you could go back and look into how things were before net neutrality, I don't remember and I don't care to look it up, maybe someone older can tell you if things were better, worse or basically the same before and after the bill passed. I do have to say this though, I'd be surprised if some companies didn't has plans to make you pay extra for stuff that net neutrality made impossible for them to do, people are greedy and surely had schemes and plans to fuck you over before net neutrality.

5. izim1

Posts: 1600; Member since: Feb 04, 2013

Att and Comcast had already been taken to court before net neutrality was passed, for being shady with prioritization of traffic. Streaming services were just getting rolling and the big ISPs saw dollar signs with the explosion. It's one of the reasons this was passed to begin with. To put a stop to that and to keep the internet open. I honestly dont understand how people refuse to understand that this is one of the few laws that were 100% for the people. It benefited no one BUT the people. ISPs only argument against it, is that it stunted growth because it limited the capital coming in. As if we are supposed to believe that any extra money coming in would go solely to R&D and not to line the pockets of the wallstreet fatcats. All these large ISPs are already billion dollar companies. No shortage of profits.

3. Subie

Posts: 2384; Member since: Aug 01, 2015

I agree Doakie. If only the odd State like California passes their own net neutrality law - consumers might then be able to see if there is a contrast with costs, content, and performance with those in States without net neutrality. It could be interesting...

6. tuminatr

Posts: 1141; Member since: Feb 23, 2009

Here is a good example of where its bad, WIFI on a airplane. If net neutrality were to be taken literally and as intended most would not be able to use the in flight wifi because someone would be hogging the bandwidth watching youtube and someone else would be having a marital dispute over VOIP. Currently the airlines block VOIP and bandwidth heavy apps so the service is usable to most. Same thing in your neighborhood your neighbor hosting a porn site cannot be slowed so everyone need suffer slower internet. take the bad with the good the ability for you ISP to throttle some traffic is actually a good thing and one of their best tools in making sure you have a good experience on the net.

9. vincelongman

Posts: 5723; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

Net neutrality stops ISPs from messing with our bandwidth Airlines, unis, schools, businesses can still control network as they see fit People already pay for plans by bandwith ISPs should be be able to met these If they can't they need to invest in their network

10. tedkord

Posts: 17410; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

Total strawman. Net neutrality limits ISPs, no one else. My son won't be able to sue me if I turn off his internet access at the router at 11pm every night.

18. tuminatr

Posts: 1141; Member since: Feb 23, 2009

I was using it as an example so people understand how controlling what gets access can benefit the consumer but you are correct Airlines, Hotels, and Coffee shops are exempt.

4. izim1

Posts: 1600; Member since: Feb 04, 2013

You clearly dont understand what net neutrality is. It's explained here, in the article, just for people like yourself. Net neutrality forced ISPs to treat all traffic the same. What exactly were you expecting to see? Its entire purpose and reason for existing was to make sure that you DIDNT see any difference. What "power grab" do you think it is, forcing all ISPs to treat everything the same? Power grab for who? Who could possibly benefit from that, other than the consumer? Att and Verizon have already admitted that they plan on providing "fast lanes". Comcast has repeatedly stated that they have every intention of closing down p2p traffic, aka torrenting. But yeah, net neutrality didnt really do anything...

7. tuminatr

Posts: 1141; Member since: Feb 23, 2009

I think this is a good "in a nutshell" https://skeptoid.com/episodes/4604

8. tuminatr

Posts: 1141; Member since: Feb 23, 2009

11. tedkord

Posts: 17410; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

The article is flawed on its base level. As explained above, only ISPs are covered by NN regulations. Airlines would not be impacted. The problem is (and the article mentions it, but grossly underestimates the size) that most people don't have choices in ISP. That's because when cable came into existence (at the time delivering TV only), the companies were allowed to carve the country up into mini monopolies, where no other provider was allowed to enter the market. Now that they also deliver broadband internet access, they still get to keep their monopoly. I have a choice of Comcast in my area. I don't even have the much slower DSL. Comcast or nothing. Add to this that these providers are are more and more also content creators,who want to push their own content to make it more profitable. So, now you Comcast, who want you to watch their owner's (NBC) content. Oh, you want to watch Netflix, not theirs. Ok, but Netflix might slow down and buffer alot unless you pay a priority fee. But theirs won't cost you any extra. And for this who say this can't happen, it already was before NN. ISPs were charging Netflix to not slow it down. That cost would eventually have to be passed on to the customer. This doesn't address the danger of content providers also being access providers. We see that with AT&T raising prices right after acquiring Direct TV, despite claiming (lying) the purchase would lower prices. Net neutrality is good for everybody but ISPs, who want to charge more by stacking the market. (and the politicians who want to keep receiving huge contributions from the ISPs)

14. tuminatr

Posts: 1141; Member since: Feb 23, 2009

I do think NN will pass in CA and it will be an interesting experiment. I just don’t think it’s the superhero that most do. The airline is an example that makes it easy to understand why traffic shaping is important to an ISP. And yes, its true Hotels, Coffee shops, and Airlines are exempt from NN. If they needed to follow the NN rules you can see how that would be a problem. When it comes to choice most people do have three different alternatives currently. Most can get cable, DSL of some flavor and satellite. One alternative currently available to most is their 4g cell phone many people use it as their primary internet. In the near future Verizon, T-Mobile/Sprint and AT&T will have 5g available. With the 5g it seems they want to provide service to the same footprint the cellular 4g provides so 99% of Americans. So, most of America have 3 choices now and will soon have 6 choices. And when it comes to lobbing for or against both for and against spend money supporting their position. Netflix was one of the big advocates of NN. They reported that they were being charged by ISP’s to prioritize their content. But what happened when NN passed did Netflix increase or decrease their monthly charge to the end user? Umm they increased the monthly fee so profit motive does not apply to just the ISP. Many companies in favor of NN stand to financially gain from the regulation.

12. berzito

Posts: 5; Member since: May 25, 2010

It prevents isp from charging extra for access to websites or pushing their own content over others. Keeps the internet the way it is now. You’ll start to see changes in those states that won’t protect consumers in a few years or so.

13. UglyFrank

Posts: 2194; Member since: Jan 23, 2014

The fact that AT&T are willing to bribe this guy shows it will cost money.

17. andrewc31394

Posts: 297; Member since: Jun 23, 2012

it was in place to stop any major ISP's from a power grab. you could already see on Time Warner's website right when net neutrality was announced to be dissolved TW removed a clause stating they would not throttle or have paid prioritization.

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