On Wednesday, multiple media sources reported that lawmakers in California had passed a bill that will effectively restore net neutrality in the state. This news comes just months after the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) decided, in what has proven to be a controversial act, to reverse the net neutrality protections put forth during the Obama administration on a federal level.
In essence, net neutrality refers to a series of government regulations which prevent internet service providers from charging websites for expediting access to consumers. Advocates of the law argue that these regulations are necessary for the protection of information and democracy on the web. Critics, such as FCC chairman Ajit Pai, insist that such regulations are not necessary and simply add extra overhead costs to internet service providers, who in turn pass these costs onto end users.
Regardless, lawmakers in California are treating the news as a win for a more free and open internet. Not surprisingly, California voters overwhelmingly support net neutrality, and the new vote, in many ways, will give incumbent lawmakers “brownie points” ahead of the 2020 midterm elections.
However, it is not just California voters who support the move; the state’s second largest industry does as well. Technologies throughout the Silicon Valley praised Wednesday’s decision, claiming that the laws are necessary in order to protect users who rely on the internet as their daily source of information, and in some cases income.
Many now speculate that the landmark passing of this bill will set the stage for other states to bring forth net neutrality bills of their own. However, whether states will be able to band together to essentially reverse the FCC decision made earlier in the year is still unknown.
The bill now heads to the state assembly, where it is largely expected to pass.