California sued over reinstatement of net neutrality rules
It was only going to be a matter of time, but the telco industry is taking California to court over the decision to reinstate net neutrality rules, reports Telecoms.com. “While the rules prevent the telcos from making additional revenue through the creation of a two-lane communications highway, there is something bigger at stake here. In reinstating the net neutrality rules, California is not only questioning the validity of the Communications Act, the bedrock of regulations in the telco industry, but according to the coalition of associations suing the state, it is contradicting and undermining the US Constitution.” The American Cable Association (ACA), The Wireless Association (CTIA), The Internet & Television Association (NCTA) and USTelecom are the plaintiffs in the case, with California Attorney General Xavier Becerra named as the defendant. “This case presents a classic example of unconstitutional state regulation,” the filing reads. “The State of California has enacted SB-822, entitled the ‘California Internet Consumer Protection and Net Neutrality Act of 2018’, directly regulating the provision of broadband internet access services (BIAS). This statute was purposefully intended to countermand and undermine federal law by imposing on BIAS the very same regulations that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) expressly repealed in its 2018 Restoring Internet Freedom Order (and by adopting even more restrictive regulations), despite the fact that both the FCC decision and the federal Communications Act of 1934, as amended (Communications Act), prohibit states from taking such action with respect to jurisdictionally interstate services like BIAS.” According to the lawsuit, the California is not only violating the FCC’s 2018 Order, it is ignoring clauses in the Communications Act, which declare states cannot pass local regulations which contradict FCC rules, and also important aspects of the US Constitution. “In signing net neutrality back into the regulatory rulebook, governor Jerry Brown has opened up a whirlwind of complications and consequences. As chairman of the FCC, Ajit Pai has the authority to dictate the future of the telecoms industry. This has been formalised in both the Communications Act and the US Constitution. In splintering the rulebook, California is undermining the concept of US law and regulatory policy. Should the net neutrality rules be allowed to stand in California, the whole rulebook and regulatory landscape could be shaken up; California would have set precedent in contradicting both the Communications Act and the US Constitution. This is of course dependent on whether you agree with the coalition’s interpretation of the documentation, but could this be the beginning of a constitutional crisis?” Meanwhile five industry associations representing major US cable and wireless operators have also filed suit against the state of Vermont, arguing it cannot bypass federal law by using state-level regulations to impose net neutrality rules on internet service providers. Read more and here.
- Tuesday, 23 October 2018