Four major lobby groups representing the broadband industry has sued the state of California in an attempt to stop their newest net neutrality law.
The lawsuit, which ArsTechnica has uploaded here, was filed in US District Court for the Eastern District of California by the CTIA (mobile industry lobby), NCTA (cable industry lobby), USTelcom (telco lobby), and the American Cable Association who represents many small and medium sized cable companies. These lobby groups represent major of the telco/cable/internet companies in the U.S. including AT&T, Verizon, Sprint/T Mobile, Cox, Comcast, Charter, and many more.
The complaint states that, “[t]his case presents a classic example of unconstitutional state regulation.” The California net neutrality law “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federal law by imposing on [broadband] the very same regulations that the Federal Communications Commission expressly repealed in its 2018 Restoring Internet Freedom Order.”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 state that the law “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 four lobby groups have sided with the DOJ in stating that these laws set in place in California are preempted by the FCC’s repeal of net neutrality, but California argues that since the FCC gave up its rule over governing broadband, the law does not preempt states from regulating telcoms and broadband providers.
The California law prevents and prohibits ISPs from blocking or throttling content from “lawful” traffic and stop prioritization of internet content to users of a specific ISP. The law would also prevent companies from paid zero-rating. This law would prevent companies like AT&T and Verizon from charging for data cap overages.
In a statement on their lawsuit, the broadband lobby groups patted themselves on the back saying, “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 US District Court in California must rule on the preliminary injunction and will decide whether California can enforce the law that is slated to begin on January 1st, 2019 while the US Court of Appeals’ case is still in limbo.