What State Will DOJ Sue Next Regarding Net Neutrality?

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Californians could have grasped that internet freedom in their hands until the Justice Department suppressed it.

The Golden State forged their own net neutrality law since it is obvious that the Trump administration along with the current Federal Communications Commision does not care at all for an open internet. The phenomenal Senate Bill 822 took a long rough and bumpy road to former Gov. Jerry Brown’s office before it was signed into a law. It was considered a historic win for the country that very much values the importance of net neutrality.

However, on the same day, the Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against the state for legislating their own net neutrality law. The case was filed in the U.S District Court for the Eastern District of California disputing that the state unlawfully opposed the FCC’s 2017 ruling which repealed net neutrality on a federal level. The implementation of the new law is slated in January 2019. There was an agreement between the Justice Department and the state that the enactment will be postponed until the lawsuit has been resolved.

On October 2, there are four broadband industry lobbying groups that filed their own challenges in federal court against California. These include CTIA, NCTA, USTelecom, and American Cable Association. Members include AT&T, Comcast, CenturyLink, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon.

The CTIA said in a statement, “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. Republican and Democratic administrations, time and again, have embraced the notion that actions like this are preempted by federal law. We believe the courts will continue to uphold that fundamental principle,” the statement said.

The filed case against California seems to serve as a warning to other states that passed their own laws similar to California. Is Washington next in line?

California and Washington almost have the same legislation at the start of the year. The latter has a feeling that they will be the next in the list and is now already preparing.  Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s office is considering to file a friend-of-the-court brief in assistance of California’s stand. It is also reinforcing itself for possible cases against Washington’s net neutrality law. Aside from probable federal government lawsuit, Washington might also deal with an objection from the broadband industry.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee also expressed his readiness to face the potential challenge that the federal government will bestow upon them. It is worth noting that this is the primary state to pass its own net neutrality regulations.

CTIA and Broadband Communications Association of Washington disputed that if Washington creates its own stronghold of net neutrality, it would be the beginning of a mixed bag of diverse internet laws that differ from state to state.

Vermont is another US state that passed its own new net neutrality regulations which now deals with a lawsuit filed against the state by many broadband associations. Its new regulations are more lenient compared to Washington because they only employ to providers with state government agreements.



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