California delays its net neutrality law for federal suit

26 Oct 2018

Last month the California Governor Jerry Brown signed the toughest net neutrality bill into law. However, the US Department of Justice and industry groups representing companies like AT&T, Charter and Verizon filed suits to block its new net neutrality from taking effect. Today California Attorney General Xavier Becerra entered into an agreement with the parties suing California over its net neutrality law to stay the litigation and temporarily delay implementation of the law. This agreement will remain in effect until after another lawsuit filed against the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) over its rollback of the Obama-era net neutrality rules is resolved, currently pending in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. In a statement, California state Senator Scott Wiener, the principal author of the law, said that while he want to see the law put into effect, he understands why Becerra agreed to the delay and added that “after the DC Circuit appeal is resolved, the litigation relating to California’s net neutrality law will then move forward”.

 

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The Internet’s success lies in its design, which is based on the principle of net neutrality. From the outset, the flow of all the content on the Internet was treated without discrimination. New entrepreneurs did not need permission or market power to innovate on the Internet. With the development of new digital services, especially the ones consuming high bandwidth such as high-quality video streaming, some Internet operators (telecom companies and ISPs) started prioritising certain traffic – such as their own services or the services of their business partners – based on business needs and plans, justifying such an approach with a need to raise funds to further invest in the network. Net neutrality proponents strongly fight back such plans arguing this could limit open access to information and online freedoms, and stifle online innovation.

 

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