Justice Department sues California over law protecting net neutrality

Calif. Gov. Jerry Brown signs net neutrality bill.     
                    Hector Amezcua  AP            
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A hefty thank you to the Golden State for your effort to get right what the @FCC got so wrong when it rolled back open internet protections late previous year.

The Justice Department is suing California to block a recently signed law restoring net neutrality rules that the Federal Communications Commission discarded a year ago.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said in a statement that he was "pleased" by the lawsuit and asserted that it properly falls to the federal government to regulate the internet.

The Justice Department says the new California law illegally conflicts with federal rules.

Rules governing online access have undergone numerous court challenges and regulatory moves over the past decade, and in December the Federal Communications Commission voted 3-2 along party lines to reverse a 2015 order which established net neutrality.

The Trump administration's net neutrality repeal was a win for providers like Comcast Corp, AT&T Inc and Verizon Communications Inc, but it was opposed by internet companies like Facebook Inc, Amazon.com Inc and Alphabet Inc.

The lawsuit argues that California's approach is "unlawful and anti-consumer" because it imposes burdensome regulations on the Internet and goes against the federal government's approach.

According to The New York Times, California's is one of the strongest net neutrality laws in the nation and could set a new standard for other states to follow.

In a matter of hours after this regulation was passed, senior officials from the Justice Department reacted by stating that they intend to take California to court, citing the federal government's apparently exclusive right to regulate net-neutrality laws.

California's law seeks to reinstate those rules. Connie Leyva, D-Chino, would have required university health centers to offer women medical abortions on campus by January 1, 2022.

California Sen. Scott Wiener said the bill protects a free and open society and the exchange of ideas.

Telecommunications companies lobbied hard to kill it or water it down, saying it would lead to higher internet and cellphone bills and discourage investments in faster internet. Finally, the bill also makes sure that Californians are protected from mega-corporations like the newly minted AT&T-TimeWarner who want to push their content and services on subscribers, while harming all other speakers and companies on the internet. "Rather than 50 states stepping in with their own conflicting open internet solutions, we need Congress to step up with a national framework for the whole internet ecosystem and resolve this issue once and for all".

It also bans "zero rating", in which internet providers don't count certain content against a monthly data cap - generally video streams produced by the company's own subsidiaries and partners. According to the National Conference of State Legislators, almost one hundred bills and resolutions have been introduced throughout the United States.

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