California lawmakers pass toughest net neutrality law

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San Francisco, Sep 1 (IANS) California lawmakers have passed the US’ toughest net neutrality law to prevent internet providers from favouring certain websites, setting up a fight with federal regulators who voted last year to erase such rules.

The final bill passage came after the state Assembly voted 61 to 18 to approve the measure Thursday, followed by a 27-to-12 vote Friday by the Senate, reports The Washington Post.

If Governor Jerry Brown signs the bill, California would become the fourth state to create a net neutrality law.

The California bill is being viewed as even stronger and more consumer-friendly than the original measures carried out by the former President Barack Obama’s administration and abolished in December by President Donald Trump-era’s Federal Communications Commission (FCC), The New York Times reported.

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The California lawmakers are seeking to bar internet service providers like AT&T and Comcast from blocking or slowing down the transmission of web traffic to the state’s broadband customers.

The bill would prohibit promotions of free streaming for apps, a practice that can stifle the businesses of other websites that don’t have the resources to offer such promotions.

It would also ensure that consumers would not be charged extra for access to websites and a guaranteed that video streams from any site like Netflix, Vudu or Hulu would be delivered to a mobile device or an internet television at the same speeds and quality.

The bill would become California’s second major internet law passed in the last few months, The New York Times said.

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In June, the state adopted an internet privacy law, the first in the nation. It gave California internet users the ability to know what information a company like Facebook or Google was collecting, and how it was being used and shared with third parties.

The law also gave them the right to stop data collection.

More than 20 states are suing the FCC to overturn the agency’s decision on net neutrality and nearly three dozen states have introduced bills to replace the defunct regulations with three states have already approved them.

–IANS

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