California Can Now Enforce Its Net Neutrality Law


California can start apply the net neutrality A law he enacted more than two years ago, a federal judge on Tuesday ruled a loss for Internet service providers.

The broadband industry lobbyists’ preliminary injunction motion was dismissed by Judge John Mendez of the US District Court for the Eastern District of California. Mendez did not issue a written order, but announced his decision at a hearing, and his denial of the ISP’s request was noted in the role.

Mendez would not have been swayed by ISPs’ claims that a Net Neutrality law is not needed because they have not blocked or restricted Internet traffic.

“I have heard this argument and I do not find it convincing,” Mendez said, according to Hollywood journalist. “This is going to fall on deaf ears. Everyone has had their best behavior since 2018, waiting for what happened on the DC circuit. [court case over the FCC’s repeal of net neutrality]. I don’t put any weight on the argument that everything is fine and we don’t have to worry. “

Mendez, who was appointed by President Bush in 2008, also said, “This decision today is a legal decision and should not be viewed through the political prism. I am not expressing anything about the soundness of the policy. resolved by Congress than by federal courts. “

Industry lobbyists’ lawsuit against California will continue, but the state can enforce its law while the case is still pending. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra rented the ruling, saying it means “California may soon begin to enforce SB 822,” the net neutrality law.

“The ability of an Internet service provider to block, slow down, or speed up content depending on a user’s ability to pay for a service degrades the very idea of ​​a competitive marketplace and the open transfer of information to the Internet. heart of our increasingly digital and connected network. world, ”Becerra said.

The lawsuit against California was filed by major broadband industry lobby groups representing wired and mobile Internet service providers. These groups are the American Cable Association, CTIA-The Wireless Association, NCTA-The Internet & Television Association, and USTelecom.

“Today’s Federal Court ruling allowing California to enforce our net neutrality law is a huge victory for open access to the Internet, our democracy and our economy,” said Senator Scott Wiener ( D – San Francisco), who introduced California’s net neutrality legislation. . “The Internet is at the heart of modern life. We should all be able to decide for ourselves where we go on the Internet and how we access information. We cannot allow big corporations to make these decisions for us.”

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California’s net neutrality law has also been challenged by the Trump administration’s Justice Department. President Biden’s DOJ voluntarily abandoned the lawsuit, leaving the case of the broadband industry as the final legal hurdle for California.

When industry and DOJ filed their lawsuits in 2018, California agreed to suspend the execution state law until the end of the litigation over the Net Neutrality Regulation actions of then Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai. Pai’s repeal of the FCC’s net neutrality rules confirmed, But he lost his attempt to get ahead of all state laws.

Despite loss of FCC preemption, Trump administration and broadband industry resumed their fight against California, claiming state law could not be enforced, because the FCC has “exclusive responsibility” for regulating interstate communications, and “Internet communications are inherently interstate.” After the Biden administration dropped the US lawsuit against California, the state mentionned that “the United States’ willful rejection of its lawsuit underscores the Respondent’s arguments that SB 822 is not preempted.”

The California law prohibits Internet service providers to block or limit legal traffic. It also prohibits charging fees on websites or online services to deliver or prioritize their traffic to consumers, prohibits paid data cap exemptions (the so-called “zero rate”) and states that ISPs cannot attempt to evade Net neutrality protections by slowing traffic at network interconnection points.

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