California’s Net Neutrality Bill Has Strong Zero Rating Protections for Low-Income Internet Users, Yet Sacramento May Ditch Them to Appease AT&T

California’s net neutrality bill, S.B. 822, is often referred to as the “gold standard” of state-based net neutrality laws. The bill tackles the full array of issues the FCC had addressed right up until the end of 2016 before it began repealing net neutrality. One such issue is the discriminatory use of zero rating, where ISPs could choose to give users access to certain content for “free”—that is, without digging into their data plans. ISPs can use zero rating to drive users to their own content and services to the detriment of competitors. The FCC found that both AT&T’s and Verizon’s use of zero rating appeared to be in violation of the 2015 Open Internet Order, only to have those findings and investigations terminated as one of the first acts of President Trump’s FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. The core issue is the fact that companies like AT&T were simply exempting their own affiliated services from their datacaps in a…

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