Net neutrality - Protecting internet access and freedom of information
We have been a leader in protecting net neutrality. Net neutrality rules prohibit broadband internet service providers (like Verizon and Comcast) from slowing down or blocking lawful internet content and applications. In 2015, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued rules protecting net neutrality. Two years later, the FCC reversed course and eliminated those rules. In 2018, we filed a lawsuit against the FCC in federal court in Washington, D.C. We argued that without net neutrality rules, internet providers will act to protect their profits, even when public safety is on the line. For example, as we told the Court, in 2018, we found out that Verizon “throttled” (purposely slowed down) the connection to a County Fire emergency vehicle stationed in the field during the worst wildfire in California history.
The court agreed with us that the FCC violated the law by failing to consider how its repeal of net neutrality would impact public safety. The court required the FCC to consider the public safety implications of its rulings. When the FCC was reconsidering the rules, we joined with the City of Los Angeles to file a comment in 2020 explaining again why net neutrality is so important for public safety.
The County has also championed net neutrality in other ways. We supported the California Internet Consumer Protection and Net Neutrality Act of 2018 (SB 822), including by filing an amicus brief in favor of the law; and opposed Assembly Bill 1366, which would have blocked local regulation of internet-based phone service in California.