Comcast, Charter, AT&T push back against California net neutrality rules

A Senate committee analysis is recommending that lawmakers tone the bill down a bit. (Shutterstock)

The California Cable & Telecommunications Association (CCTA), a group representing Comcast, Charter and Cox, is teaming with AT&T to lobby against new net neutrality rules emerging from the California State Senate.

Submitted by state Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), and first reported on by Ars Technica, a new state net neutrality bill would implement the basic rules established in the FCC’s recently scrapped 2015 Title II regimen. But they would also ban paid zero-rating arrangements, in which broadband service providers charge online services for data cap exemptions. 

In a filing (PDF) sent to state Senate members, the CCTA called Bill 822 an “overreach of the 2015 Open Internet Order.”

The group called the bill’s language on interconnection agreements, for example, “very problematic,” noting that “most edge providers today pay an ISP to be connected to the internet. Some of the biggest edge providers, like Google, Amazon and Netflix, have negotiated special arrangements. This provision, read literally, seems to completely up-end the market for interconnection and seems to mandate ‘free’ interconnection or prohibit negotiated arrangements.”

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According to Ars, the lobbying seems to be having an impact. A Senate committee analysis of the bill is recommending that lawmakers tone the bill down a bit. 

In December, the FCC rolled back its 2015 Title II regimen following strident lobbying efforts by the cable industry. 

Since that time, operators have watched new net neutrality legislation emerge on the state level. They’re complaining that they shouldn’t have to negotiate a “patchwork” of new rules. 

"You can't go and get federal net neutrality protections repealed and then be surprised and indignant and complain that states are stepping in to protect consumers and the economy," Sen. Weiner told Ars.