California net neutrality bill gutted
In California, the USA, a State Assembly Committee scaled back a draft law proposed by Senator Scott Wiener’s bill to restore basic net neutrality protections that were included in the now defunct 2015 order of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The original bill banned blocking, throttling, and paid prioritisation, but it also included bans on paid zero-rating arrangements in which Internet access providers charge online services for data cap exemptions. The bill was approved in the State Senate, but got amended in the Assembly Committee in a way that weakened the net neutrality provisions. The bill as amended still has bans on blocking or throttling Internet traffic and a ban on paid prioritization. But the amendments eliminated a ban on Internet Service Providers (ISPs) demanding payments from websites or applications, as well as a provision that would have ISPs to maintain enough bandwidth at network interconnection points. Civil society groups have accused the Assembly Committee of corruption and said that the ‘amendments [were] voted on before the witnesses and Wiener could argue for the bill as written’.