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California is likely to implement its net neutrality law under a judge’s ruling on Feb. 23.

U.S. Judge John Mendez for the Eastern District of California said in an oral ruling he would not block the law from taking effect, to the dismay of several telecom and broadband industry groups.

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The law sought to ban internet service providers from blocking or throttling traffic, or offering paid fast lanes.

“Net neutrality is the concept that all data traffic on a network should be treated indiscriminately, and internet service providers (ISPs) would be restricted from blocking, slowing down or speeding up the delivery of online content at their discretion,” according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

“The current debate surrounding net neutrality is principally about how ISPs should be regulated and what role government should play in overseeing their network management practices.”

Discussions around net neutrality being implemented first arose under the Obama administration.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted net neutrality rules in 2015 during the Obama administration.

Trump overturned net neutrality rules in 2017.

California’s legislature then adopted a state law requiring net neutrality in August 2018.

“In a deal with the U.S. Department of Justice, California agreed to not enforce its net neutrality law until the lawsuit challenging the Federal Communications Commission’s repeal of the federal regulations is resolved,” according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Currently, California is set to implement net neutrality laws without obstacles from the FCC.

“When the FCC, over my objection, rolled back its #netneutrality policies, states like California sought to fill the void with their own laws. Tonight a court in California decided that the state law can go into effect. This is big news for #openinternet policy,” Acting FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel tweeted.

California state Sen. Scott Wiener said “the internet is at the heart of modern life.”

“We all should be able to decide for ourselves where we go on the internet and how we access information. We cannot allow big corporations to make those decisions for us.”

In a joint statement, several telecom industry associations said that net neutrality, if implemented, should not be done on a state-by-state basis.

“A state-by-state approach to Internet regulation will confuse consumers and deter innovation, just as the importance of broadband for all has never been more apparent,” the Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association, ACA Connects, the National Cable and Telecommunications Association and USTelecom said.

California Attorney General said net neutrality is necessary for a competitive marketplace.

“The ability of an internet service provider to block, slow down or speed up content based on a user’s ability to pay for service degrades the very idea of a competitive marketplace and the open transfer of information at the core of our increasingly digital and connected world,” California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said.

Written ByLinn Win

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