As CA Net Neutrality Bill Waits For Jerry Brown, ISPs Urge Veto

The California legislature passed the nation’s toughest net neutrality bill on August 31, but a full week later the state’s outgoing governor, Jerry Brown, has not yet signed the bill—or even made a public comment about it, according to a San Jose Mercury News report. Brown’s inaction has angered net neutrality advocates and given time for the state’s internet service companies to pull together an effort to persuade Brown to veto the bill, SB 822.

According to a report by the tech news site Motherboard, at least one ISP has tried to recruit its own employees to pressure Brown into rejecting the bill with his veto stamp.

Frontier Communications has urged its employees in an internal company email to sign an online form letter to Brown, saying, “I oppose SB 822 because it will harm consumers and impose complex layers of costly regulation. This will deter investment and delay broadband deployment in California, especially in rural areas that still lack high-speed Internet access.”

The letter claims that, “Frontier Communications supports an open Internet where providers do not block, throttle, or interfere with customers' ability to access and navigate the Internet.” But according to Motherboard, the company was part of a coalition which repeatedly sued the Federal Communications Commission over the 2015 net neutrality rules, which were repealed by the now-Republican-led FCC by a vote in December. Nationwide net neutrality officially ended on June 11.

On Friday, September 7, a coalition of advocacy groups including the ACLU, Common Cause, Center For Media Justice and 17 others sent an open letter to Brown, pressing him to sign the net neutrality bill “without delay.”

“Your signature on SB 822 would mark a historic victory for Black people and other underrepresented groups, advancing the long-held civil rights fight for equal voice, now in a digital age,” the letter states.

But Brown has yet to take any public position on the net neutrality issue.

“The internet is not just a luxury, it’s wired into our DNA in 2018 America,” San Francisco State Senator Scott Wiener said at a Thursday press conference in Los Angeles, urging Brown to sign the bill. “We need to make sure it remains a level playing field.”

Under California legislative rules, Brown has until September 30 to sign or veto the bill. If Brown fails to sign the bill by the deadline, it takes effect without his signature.

Photo By California Air Resources Board / Wikimedia Commons