Senate Bill (SB) 822, introduced by Senator Wiener on March 13, 2018, promises to reinstate Net Neutrality consumer protections for the people of California. In a letter from National Hispanic Media Coalition’s (NHMC) President and CEO Alex Nogales, NHMC supports this state level effort to restore essential regulations repealed by the Federal Commissions Commission (FCC) in December 2017. The letter explained why Net Neutrality has helped preserve the Internet as an open platform where Latinos can start businesses, find educational opportunities, and engage in authentic storytelling without gatekeepers standing in the way. Whereas the FCC’s Net Neutrality repeal gave Internet Service Providers (ISPs) the authority to engage in paid prioritization as well as the ability to slow down, block, favor, or censor content, California’s proposed state legislation would prevent ISPs from engaging in practices that would interfere with a consumer’s ability to fully access the Internet.
Additionally, on April 11, 2018, NHMC joined 40 organizations who agree that bright-line Net Neutrality rules help ensure an open Internet for consumers. As stated in the letter led by Consumer Union, states are both wise and well within their authority to enact measures that the FCC repealed. In accordance with the 2015 Open Internet Order, the legislation would prevent ISPs from blocking, slowing down or speeding up websites, apps, and classes of apps. It would also prevent ISPs from charging websites or services for prioritized access to customers. A step further than the previous regulatory framework, SB 822 would prevent ISPs from using unregulated interconnection practices to circumvent the rules and prohibit certain forms of zero-rating that run afoul of Net Neutrality principles.
NHMC will continue to lift up voices for those who simply cannot afford to pay more for less access and urge the California legislature to put consumers first. California residents, organizations, and businesses deserve state level consumer protections where federal regulations fail. That is why so many concerned citizens and organizations who recognize the importance of equal access to the Internet have offered resounding support for this important piece of legislation.