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Trump's FCC boss calls California's net neutrality illegal

by on18 September 2018

A risk to the rest of the country

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai dubbed California's net neutrality bill "illegal" saying it "poses a risk to the rest of the country".

The bill recently passed California's State Assembly and now awaits the signature of Governor Jerry Brown who is certain to sign it.  The State stepped in when Pai's FCC decided to stop regulating telcos and ISPs so that they could charge big users like Netflix and Google.

Pai targeted the California rules in a speech at the Maine Heritage Policy Center. Pai derided what he called "nanny-state California legislators' and said: "The broader problem is that California's micromanagement poses a risk to the rest of the country."

He claimed that broadband was an interstate service and internet traffic doesn't recognise state lines.

"It follows that only the federal government can set regulatory policy in this area. For if individual states like California regulate the internet, this will directly impact citizens in other states. Among other reasons, this is why efforts like California's are illegal. In fact, just last week, the US Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit reaffirmed the well-established law that state regulation of information services is preempted by federal law. Last December, the FCC made clear that broadband is just such an information service", he said.

In response to Pai's speech, Scott Wiener, California's Senator who authored the bill, said they are "necessary and legal because Chairman Pai abdicated his responsibility to ensure an open internet.

"Unlike Pai's FCC, California isn't run by the big telecom and cable companies. can take whatever potshots at California he wants. The reality is that California is the world's innovation capital, and unlike the crony capitalism promoted by the Trump administration, California understands exactly what it takes to foster an open innovation economy with a level playing field."

Last modified on 18 September 2018
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