Analysis Group Principal David Sosa Comments on California Net Neutrality Bill in Op-Ed
July 6, 2018
In the wake of the US government's repeal of Obama-era net neutrality rules, the State of California has been debating its own net neutrality bill to prohibit discrimination by telecommunication companies in their treatment of internet traffic. A bill under consideration by the California legislature (S.B. 822) would have, among other provisions, banned offers of so-called “zero-rated data” – the practice of offering mobile broadband data that does not apply to a customer's (hard or soft) data cap.
Such a ban would be a mistake, according to an op-ed by Analysis Group Principal David Sosa, an expert in the economics of network industries and the author of a recent CALinnovates study on streaming data in California.
Dr. Sosa's op-ed, published in the Sacramento Bee newspaper, argues that the prohibition would hurt California consumers. Low-income and minority consumers would be disproportionately affected, he posits, because they are more reliant on smartphones for internet access. Free data is a mechanism to lower the price of mobile broadband data, and if such offers are outlawed in California, those consumers, he writes, either will have to pay more for data (if they can), or they will have less access to digital entertainment and other services.