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California Net Neutrality Bill Gutted by Industry-Led Effort

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The California Assembly Committee on Communications and Conveyance effectively gutted legislation to restore comprehensive net neutrality protections. In an unusual procedure, the Committee Chairman forced votes on amendments, largely supported by internet service providers, before a scheduled hearing on the net neutrality legislation (SB 822). The bill — which would have prevented internet service providers (ISPs) from blocking, slowing down or speeding up websites, apps, and classes of apps, charging websites for access to the ISPs’ customers or for prioritized access to those customers, and circumventing net neutrality rules through interconnection practices — passed the California Senate with bipartisan support.

Consumers Union, the advocacy division of Consumer Reports, is a strong supporter of the legislation and expressed deep disappointment over the Committee’s actions.

Jonathan Schwantes, senior policy counsel for Consumers Union, said, “It’s deeply disheartening that — once again — the voices of millions of consumers calling for net neutrality protections were drowned out by industry influence. It’s difficult to succinctly name the numerous, diverse stakeholders that supported this legislation, compared to the short list of internet providers and telecom giants who worked tirelessly to defeat this legislation with poisonous amendments like those passed today. These committee members had the chance to set a tremendous precedent for the future of the internet, and send a powerful message to California and the country as a whole — yet chose not to stand up for consumers.”