Net Neutrality: Internet Provider Groups Sue to Block New California Rules

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Net Neutrality: Internet Provider Groups Sue to Block New California Rules
Highlights
  • Groups represent companies including AT&T, Verizon, and Comcast
  • Law a "classic example of unconstitutional state regulation": lawsuit
  • US DoJ on Sunday filed its own lawsuit to block the new law

Four industry groups representing major Internet providers and cable companies filed suit on Wednesday seeking to block California's new law to mandate net neutrality rules.

The groups represent companies including AT&T, Verizon Communications, Comcast Corp and Charter Communications. The lawsuit came after the US Justice Department on Sunday filed its own lawsuit to block the new law.

The lawsuit filed by the American Cable Association, CTIA - The Wireless Association, NCTA - The Internet & Television Association and USTelecom - The Broadband Association, called California's law a "classic example of unconstitutional state regulation" and urged the court to block it before it is set to take effect January 1.

US Attorney General Jeff Sessions said on Sunday in a statement that the "the California legislature has enacted an extreme and illegal state law attempting to frustrate federal policy."

This marked the latest clash between the Trump administration and California, which have sparred over environmental, immigration and other hot-button issues.

In December, the Federal Communications Commission said in repealing the Obama-era rules that it was preempting states from setting their own rules governing Internet access.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said on Sunday the Trump Administration was ignoring "millions of Americans who voiced strong support for net neutrality rules."

The Trump administration rules were a win for Internet providers but opposed by companies like Facebook, Amazon.com, and Alphabet.

Under President Donald Trump, the FCC voted 3-2 in December along party lines to reverse rules that barred Internet service providers from blocking or throttling traffic or offering paid fast lanes, also known as paid prioritizsation.

In August, 22 states and a coalition of trade groups representing major tech companies urged a federal appeals court to reinstate the rules. The states argue that the FCC cannot preempt state rule because it is not setting any limits on conduct by Internet providers.

A federal judge on Monday set a November 14 hearing in Sacramento on the Justice Department lawsuit.

© Thomson Reuters 2018

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