Editorial: Why California must pass net neutrality legislation

Greedy broadband companies hope to kill California’s model net neutrality legislation Tuesday.

Don’t let them. An open internet, in which no content is given preference with faster service, is critical to both consumers and businesses. The Federal Communications Commission’s rollback of net neutrality protections last December leaves California and other states no choice but to protect the interests of their residents and businesses.

The fate of state Sen. Scott Wiener’s comprehensive SB 822, which would provide the strongest consumer protections in the nation, will be decided by the 11-member Senate Energy, Utilities and Communications Committee on Tuesday. It’s essential that the committee moved the bill forward.

At stake is users ability to access and watch material from web sites at an affordable price. If you care about being able to access and afford to watch material from web sites, you should care about this bill. If you care about new startups being able to compete with the tech titans, it all hinges on equal access to the internet.

Broadband companies including AT&T, Comcast and Verizon are going all out to defeat the bill. They contend that states shouldn’t have the ability to usurp the FCC’s authority.

That’s a hoot. They only began making that argument after FCC Chair Ajit Pai, former Verizon lawyer, gave Internet Service Providers (ISPs) their long-sought control of the internet. Pai’s decision enables ISPs to slow down or even block traffic from web sites. They can then reap the profits from charging web sites more for access to faster internet service.

Wiener’s bill contains the strongest protections against such abusive practices of any state that has passed or is considering net neutrality laws. The San Francisco Democrat’s legislation encourages creativity and innovation by ensuring that small businesses and startups essential for California’s economy be able to compete with the …read more

Source:: The Mercury News

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