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Telcos sue California

by on04 October 2018

We demand that you prop up our monopoly and pay what we tell you

Four lobby groups representing the broadband industry today sued California to stop the state's new net neutrality law which will prevent them creating a two tier internet and charging what they like.

The lawsuit was filed in the US District Court for the Eastern District of California by mobile industry lobby CTIA, cable industry lobby NCTA, telco lobby USTelecom, and the American Cable Association. These four lobby groups represent all the biggest mobile and home internet providers in the US and hundreds of smaller ISPs. Comcast, Charter, AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile US, Sprint, Cox, Frontier, and CenturyLink are among the groups' members.

They are moaning that the move was a "a classic example of unconstitutional state regulation which was was purposefully intended to countermand and undermine federal law by imposing on [broadband] the very same regulations that the Federal Communications Commission expressly repealed in its 2018 Restoring Internet Freedom Order."

ISPs say the California law impermissibly regulates interstate commerce. "[I]t is impossible or impracticable for an Internet service provider offering [broadband] to distinguish traffic that moves only within California from traffic that crosses state borders", the lobby groups' complaint said.

The groups asked the court to declare that the state law "is preempted and unconstitutional, and should permanently enjoin [California] from enforcing or giving effect to it".

California now faces two major lawsuits challenging the net neutrality law signed by Governor Jerry Brown. The Trump administration's Department of Justice also sued California and is seeking a preliminary injunction that would stop the law from being implemented. California' net neutrality rules are scheduled to take effect on January 1, 2019.

Like the DOJ, broadband lobby groups argue that state net neutrality laws are preempted by the Federal Communications Commission's repeal of federal net neutrality rules. The FCC and DOJ claim that California's net neutrality law conflicts with the federal government's deregulatory policy for broadband. California argues that the FCC gave up its authority to regulate broadband and therefore cannot preempt states from regulating the industry.

California's ban on paid zero-rating would force AT&T and Verizon to stop charging companies for data cap exemptions.

In a statement on their lawsuit, the four broadband lobby groups suing California decided to do a Trump and praise themselves in the hope that people would agree.

"The nation's broadband providers are the innovation engine of America's digital economy and remain committed to an open Internet for consumers. We oppose California's action to regulate Internet access because it threatens to negatively affect services for millions of consumers and harm new investment and economic growth."

The problem it is that it doesn't. It just stops them throttling people and charging what they like.

Last modified on 04 October 2018
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