California to ensure net neutrality after judge dismisses challenge
April 20, 2021

California to safeguard net neutrality after judge dismisses challenge by internet providers

WASHINGTON (US) – California should soon enforce its landmark net neutrality law as per a judge’s ruling on Tuesday. This has come nearly three years after the state legislature enforce the same, the state attorney general’s office said.

US Judge John Mendez for the Eastern District of California said in an oral ruling he would not prevent the law from coming into effect as four telecom and broadband industry groups were seeking, which was confirmed by his office.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra applauded the decision. “The ability of an internet service provider to block, slow down or speed up content based on a user’s ability to pay for service degrades the very idea of a competitive marketplace and the open transfer of information at the core of our increasingly digital and connected world,” he said.

The four industry groups that sued said in a joint statement they would come to a decision on next steps. “A state-by-state approach to Internet regulation will confuse consumers and deter network investment, just as the importance of broadband for all has never been more apparent,” the groups said.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) under former President Barack Obama, a Democrat, adopted net neutrality rules in 2015. These saw an overhaul in 2017 by the FCC under President Donald Trump, a Republican. California’s legislature responded by taking to a state law requiring net neutrality in August 2018.

Supporters of net neutrality have thrown questions that the protections make sure that there is a free and open internet. Broadband and telecoms trade groups have been arguing that their legal basis from the pre-internet era was out of date and that they would not encourage investment.

California had agreed not to implement the law while legal proceedings were still in progress.

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