There is good news for net neutrality coming out of California today, where two State Senators have combined their bills, SB 822 and SB 460, ahead of a key hearing this Wednesday before the Communications and Conveyance Committee. AT&T and other ISPs have been pouring money into lobbying and spreading misinformation, and were attempting to kill both bills by playing them against each other.
The combined bills leave all critical net neutrality protections intact, and if passed would set a gold standard for state-level open Internet legislation across the country. But telecom monopolies are still pushing hard to kill or water down the bills at the hearing this Wednesday, and contacts on the ground in Sacramento indicate that the committee chairman Miguel Santiago is being heavily lobbied by ISPs to do just that.
"It’s unthinkable that California Democrats would even consider weakening an extremely popular net neutrality bill in the immediate wake of the FCC’s attack on our Internet freedom," said Evan Greer, deputy director of Fight for the Future, a digital rights group with more than 350,000 members in California. "The free and open Internet is essential for every social movement combating corruption and authoritarianism. California Assembly members need to listen to their constituents, small business owners, and community groups – not AT&T’s lobbyists. The whole Internet is watching."