An Era of Net Neutrality Has Truly Begun in California
By Nancy William 4 minutes
California’s broadband industry has fought a pitched battle against California’s 2018, net neutrality law, S B-822, since it was first tabled. Yet, according to Ars Technica, having faced three court losses, internet service providers have finally called it a day and given up the fight.
What is Net Neutrality?
Net neutrality is a term that was first coined by Tim Wu, a media law expert, in 2003, refers to a principle that internet service providers (ISPs) have to treat all data on the internet equally, without any differentiated rates being charged to consumers.
So, under net neutrality, ISPs can’t play favorites with data, or content creators. When Wu coined the term, he likened ISPs to telephone systems, who play a “common carrier” role.
Just as your telephone service provider does not play favorites with the calls you get, or how quickly you get through to certain people, or how much you have to pay, versus what your neighbor has to pay, ISPs have to maintain the same neutral status.
The same can be applied to other services like in the VPN market, where there are some providers that treat all users the same and equally, under the same policies.
What Is the Net Neutrality Law?
The Verge reports that California’s net neutrality law is the strongest net neutrality law in the country and was signed into law in 2018 after the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) repealed the Open Internet Order.
The Open Internet Order gave the industry a set of net neutrality standards that it had to abide by. The Order prevented ISPs from slowing down or blocking legal internet platforms, and banned them from favoring paid content.
The net neutrality law not only carries on with the rules set forward by the Order, it also prevents what’s known as “zero rating”: giving free internet access to some providers under certain conditions.
In their most recent filing, trade associations ACA Connects, the CTIA, the NCTA, and USTelecom, said that they would no longer fight the law. Their decision has been seen as a victory for the “open internet”. The coalition had tried to get a preliminary injunction on the law, but had been denied before an en banc hearing resulted in no judges in the 29-member appeals court felt the matter merited being voted on.
With a denial of their petition, the coalition’s campaign collapsed. Although the group could have continued the fight, it was clear that the coalition did not have a strong legal basis for their bid.
According to California’s Law Firm
According to the California Law Firm, the decision by the FCC to strike down the Open Internet Order shifted the net neutrality question to states. States were free to pass their own laws to regulate the internet.
That is essentially how these issues pan out: if the federal government vacates an area, states are free to fill the vacuum. The ISPs simply had no counter to this simple principle.
The ISPs argued that under the Communications Act, only the FCC was responsible for regulating interstate communications. However, the court found that their case had no merits.
The era of open internet has truly begun in California, which previously was not seen in other parts of the US. The ISPs attempts to block its path have crumbled, bringing in a fair and more just internet for all users under the hood. The same can be seen when an ISP throttles one user’s internet, while allowing the other to run free. For situations like these, you can try dismissing them with the help of the best VPN.