ISPs and Cable Groups Sue to Stop California Net Neutrality

Four groups representing Internet providers and cable companies filed a lawsuit to block’s California’s new law to restore net neutrality to the state. The American Cable Association, CTIA – The Wireless Association, NCTA – The Internet & Television Association, and USTelecom – The Broadband Association, which together represent AT&T, Verizon Communications, Comcast, Charter Communications and many other such companies, filed their lawsuit after the U.S. Justice Department filed its own.

Reuters reports that the Internet/cable companies’ lawsuit deems California’s new law “a “classic example of unconstitutional state regulation,” urging the court to block it before it goes into effect January 1.

“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,” said the four groups’ statement.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra countered that the lawsuit was filed “by power brokers who have an obvious financial interest in maintaining their stronghold on the public’s access to online content,” and reiterated his office’s intent to defend “a free and open Internet” for California’s 40 million inhabitants.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions joined the fray by stating that, “the California legislature has enacted an extreme and illegal state law attempting to frustrate federal policy.”

When the FCC repealed net neutrality law, on a 3-2 vote along party lines, it stated that it had thus preempted states from setting their own Internet access rules. Alphabet, Amazon and Facebook opposed the FCC’s move, which was a win for Internet providers. States and tech company coalitions joined forces on August 22 to argue in a federal appeals court to reinstate net neutrality, saying that the FCC cannot preempt state rule “because it is not setting any limits on conduct by Internet providers.”

The Justice Department lawsuit will be heard on November 14 in Sacramento.