WASHINGTON – A federal judge on Tuesday paved the way for California to enforce its net neutrality law, denying telecom providers’ requests to delay state rules to ensure access equality on internet content.
California’s Eastern District Court Judge John Mendez dismissed the petition for the preliminary order sued by the group of internet service providers to prevent the 2018 state law from going into effect.
Pure neutrality is the view that all internet content must be accessible to consumers and that broadband providers cannot block or degrade content, especially websites and service competing with their own service.
California law was created after the Trump-era Federal Communications Commission in 2017 reinstated regulation of federal net neutrality. The Department of Justice immediately sued the state to overturn its laws. Broadband providers, through their commercial groups, have requested a preliminary injunction to block California law while the case goes to court.
Trade groups suing the state said in a joint statement that they were reviewing the court’s decision and considering next steps. But they argue against state laws creating a patchwork rule for broadband providers.
“A state-by-state approach to internet regulation will confuse consumers and discourage innovation, and the importance of broadband for everyone,” the groups said. more clearly.
The court ruling paved the way for California to enact its laws, a move that is expected to be replicated by other states in the absence of federal law. Washington, Vermont, and Oregon were among the few states that also enacted laws after the federation reversed the rules.
“We welcome the court’s affirmation that California has a right to protect access to the internet,” California’s attorney general, Xavier Becerra, said in a statement. “An Internet service provider’s ability to block, slow down, or speed up content based on the user’s ability to pay for services undermines the idea of a competitive marketplace and the transfer of information. open at the core of our ever-growing digital and connected world. “
The Biden administration is expected to assist in restoring the federal net neutrality rules. One month after the new administration, the Justice Department dismissed the lawsuit against California law, leaving only the telecom industry’s request for a preliminary ban as the final barrier for the law to take effect.
Scott Wiener, the California senator who wrote the law, called the decision a victory. “Internet is the center of modern life. We can all decide for ourselves where we access the internet and how we access information. We cannot allow large corporations to make those decisions for us, ”he said.
Jessica Rosenworcel, a Democrat who is currently acting as the acting chairman of the FCC, strongly opposed the agency’s decision in 2017 to remove regulations on net neutrality. She has not yet announced plans to restore federal rules. Her focus is on Congress’s mission to bridge the digital gap for broadband access for low-income Americans.
“When the FCC, in response to my objections, withdrew its #netneutrality policies, states like California sought to fill the void with their own laws,” she said in a tweet. “Tonight a California court decided that state law could go into effect. This is big news for the #openinternet policy. “