California Senator Wiener and New York Senator Hoylman Announce Bicoastal Effort to Restore Net Neutrality and Protect Access to a Fair and Free Internet

California and New York Senators collaborate to advance the strongest net neutrality legislation in the country
May 1, 2018

Sacramento - California State Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) and New York State Senator Brad Hoylman (D/WF-Manhattan)  announced today that they are collaborating on a bicoastal effort to restore the rights of an open and free internet through net neutrality legislation. Senator Hoylman is introducing legislation based on Senator Wiener’s California Senate Bill 822, which is considered the most comprehensive and strongest in the nation. The joint effort to preserve the rights of an open and free internet will restore the full net neutrality principles to one-fifth of the American population.

Sen. Wiener said: “States can and should bring forward net neutrality rules to protect consumers and our democracy. The repeal of net neutrality has left people all across our country vulnerable to having their internet access manipulated, and states need to step up to enact comprehensive, thorough internet protections that put our residents first. I’m proud to be working with Senator Hoylman to broaden our effort across the country.”

Sen. Hoylman said: “The internet is a vital tool in our 21st century democracy. Net neutrality allows people of all ages and socioeconomic backgrounds to participate in the free exchange of ideas that is essential to our experience as Americans and helps to build meaningful communities. When the federal government fails to guarantee these basic rights, it is necessary for states to intervene and provide a platform for free expression. I am proud to lead by example alongside Senator Wiener and the state of California, and hope other states will do the same.”

Sen. Holyman’s bill will track Sen. Wiener’s SB 822, which has been passed by two committees in the California State Senate, and is currently pending in the Senate Appropriations Committee. Both the California and New York legislation define a set of net neutrality principles and practices, and require that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) provide neutral access to the Internet. At its core, these bills will ensure that all residents of California and New York choose whether, when, and for what purpose they use the Internet. 

Recent data shows a majority of small businesses oppose repealing neutrality measures, citing a potentially devastating impact on innovation, fair competition, and access to customers. The California and New York state bills would restore protections for millions of businesses and consumers, and foster both innovation and private-sector job creation.

Hoylman and Wiener will continue to work together to build a national coalition of elected officials and advocates around these important issues.

Senator Wiener’s SB 822 has received broad support from public interest groups, small business organizations, internet start-ups, elected leaders, and tens of thousands of California residents. Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced support for the bill. Tom Wheeler, who served as Chair of the FCC under President Obama in 2015, wrote the following in a letter signed by two other former FCC Commissioners:“SB 822 steps in to protect Californians and their economy by comprehensively restoring the protections put in place in the 2015 net neutrality order.”

All of the following policies will be set under Sen. Hoylman’s bill, which will be introduced today:

  • Prohibit blocking, throttling, or interfering with any content, service, or device based on the nature of the content or type of service
  • Requires that all data traffic be Application Agonistic with no varying access between types of applications or classes of applications (video streaming faster than phone services)
  • Prohibits charging access fees to services to reach consumers, which favors services that can pay and stifles competition for small businesses or new services
  • Prohibits engaging in misleading or deceptive marketing and advertising
  • Prohibits practices which distort and manipulate consumer choice by subsidizing favored content so that it does not count against any data cap in a customer plan
  • Preserves the right of the consumer to choose whether, when, and for what purposes they use the internet once they have access to it
  • Preserves the right of the consumer to choose whether, when, and for what purpose they use the internet, once they have access to it
  • Allows ISPs to adjust their service that may be in violation of the above protections, provided those adjustments are for purely technical reasons.
  • These adjustments must be reasonably Application Agnostic, i.e. apply evenly to all types of web traffic, and be tailored to a technical need, not an economic benefit.

Sen. Hoylman’s legislation also establishes a firm foundation for jurisdiction by:

  • Prohibiting certain activities by a cable operator or video service provider,  
  • Rules that the state and municipal corporations shall not purchase, provide funding or enter into a contract with a provider of broadband internet that is not compliant, requires all procurements under public authorities and economic development laws comply.