Attorney General Becerra Secures Court Ruling Rejecting FCC’s Attempt to Preempt State Net Neutrality Laws

Tuesday, October 1, 2019
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SACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra today issued the following statement on a ruling by the United States Court of Appeals regarding the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) order repealing the FCC's prior neutrality rules. In January 2018, Attorney General Becerra, as part of a coalition of 22 attorneys general, challenged the FCC’s decision to repeal net neutrality. Today, the court issued an opinion vacating the FCC's Preemption Directive, which would have barred states from imposing their own net neutrality requirements. The Court also remanded the order to the FCC to address issues related to public safety, utility pole attachments, and impacts on the Lifeline Program, which protects low income consumers.

“Today's decision blocks the FCC's effort to preempt state net neutrality laws through regulation,” said Attorney General Becerra. “This decision also underscores the FCC's failure to adequately consider public safety concerns, or impacts on low income Americans, when it issued this ill-conceived rule.” 

In 2015, the FCC enacted the Open Internet Order, which mandated equal treatment of internet traffic and promoted competition and innovation online. These rules prevented Internet Service Providers (ISPs) from forcing websites to pay fees for access to special internet “fast lanes” or relegating disfavored content to “slow lanes.” Such differential access speed frustrates consumers and can affect which online companies succeed and which fail. On December 14, 2017, the FCC, led by President Trump’s appointee Ajit Pai, decided to arbitrarily repeal these rules and block state net neutrality laws. The FCC’s decision largely relied on comments submitted by ISPs and effectively ignored the overwhelming majority of the more than 20 million public comments that opposed repeal of the rules.

A copy of the ruling on Net Neutrality is available here.

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