California Agrees To Delay Net Neutrality Law Pending Outcome Of Federal Lawsuit

from the round-and-round-we-go dept

California has agreed to pause the state's shiny new net neutrality law pending the outcome of a looming federal lawsuit against the FCC. After some early gamesmanship courtesy of AT&T, California passed one of the toughest net neutrality laws in the nation (which isn't saying much) back in September. The law effectively mirrors the discarded 2015 FCC net neutrality rules, though the law goes a little further to ensure that ISPs can't abuse things like zero rating (exempting a partner or an ISP's own content but not others) and usage caps.

In a not entirely-unexpected move, the state late last week struck a deal with government and industry lawyers, agreeing to delay its implementation until a lawsuit against the FCC can be settled. That federal lawsuit, filed by Mozilla and 23 State Attorneys General, isn't expected to hear opening arguments until February. If the FCC and industry lose, the 2015 rules would be restored. If the FCC and industry win, the legal fight shifts to whether states will be allowed to implement their own rules, potentially, eventually, coming down to new Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

Given the looming federal lawsuit, the decision to pause California's effort is largely just about legal efficiency. But Ajit Pai being Ajit Pai, the FCC boss, in a statement, was quick to declare the agreement as a one-sided victory; namely his:

"I am pleased that California has agreed not to enforce its onerous Internet regulations. This substantial concession reflects the strength of the case made by the United States earlier this month. It also demonstrates, contrary to the claims of the law’s supporters, that there is no urgent problem that these regulations are needed to address. Indeed, California’s agreement not to enforce these regulations will allow Californians to continue to enjoy free-data plans that have proven to be popular among consumers."

Granted things have been pretty quiet in the wake of the repeal not because the rules aren't necessary, but because ISPs don't want to add any ammunition to the looming federal lawsuits against the FCC. Should they win that lawsuit, you can be absolutely certain you won't miss their efforts to nickel-and-dime consumers. Regardless, the bill's author, Scott Weiner, didn't think much of Pai's victory lap:

In perfect operational symmetry (since we're not even operating under the pretense that lobbyists aren't dictating federal policy anymore) both the broadband industry and the Department of Justice sued to block Califormia's law, claiming that the FCC's net neutrality repeal pre-empts (bans) states from trying to protect consumers. Most lawyers I've spoken to have stated the FCC's attempts to thwart state consumer protections aren't legally sound, and the best the industry (and its BFFs at the FCC) can do is delay, not kill, state net neutrality rules.


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  • icon
    reader50 (profile), 29 Oct 2018 @ 12:44pm

    typo corrections

    Autocorrect strikes again. Two typos that distract from reading the article.

    First sentence: "shiny new net neutrality **lawsuit** pending" - lawsuit -> law

    Last paragraph: "claiming that the FCC's net neutrality **real** pre-empts (bans)" - real -> repeal

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Oct 2018 @ 1:19pm

    "will allow Californians to continue to enjoy free-data plans"

    I was unaware of this perk given to people in Cali, how do I get me some 'o this free data?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 29 Oct 2018 @ 1:32pm

      Selling sips at a public fountain

      Pretty sure he's talking about zero-rating, and if so to call that 'free-data' is to be highly misleading/dishonest.

      Sure zero-rated content is 'free', in that you got it for 'free' before when all traffic was treated the same, then the ISP decided to make it cost you extra, and now they are generously allowing you to get it for 'free' again.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 29 Oct 2018 @ 1:38pm

    Since Pai continues to be an asshole about it...

    Can the public take back its offer to delay enforcement? I want my net neutrality!

    I also don't want our Federalist-Society-packed Supreme Court to decide my net neutrality doesn't fit in with their world-order vision.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Screen name: Goes Here, 29 Oct 2018 @ 5:39pm

    "Agrees" -- HA, HA! Just recognizing reality.

    The FCC has decided NOT regulating is its regulation. No hope of Calif law standing.

    I note that about half the comments now are on typos. And the pieces aren't even up to fluff. I'm still giving long odds in the office that this is Techdirt's last year.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 29 Oct 2018 @ 6:56pm

      Re: "Agrees" -- HA, HA! Just recognizing reality.

      I think it's hilarious that you have appointed yourself the arbiter of comment quality, as if your comments aren't consistently off-topic, trolling, and/or spam.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 29 Oct 2018 @ 7:16pm

      Re: "Agrees" -- HA, HA! Just recognizing reality.

      Calm your tits.

      Even Dick Bennett can't perform damage control forever.

      He's got to come up for oxygen sometime.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 29 Oct 2018 @ 8:06pm

      I'm still giving long odds in the office that this is Techdirt's last year.

      Betting with yourself is a form of masturbation, and you know how God hates that!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 29 Oct 2018 @ 8:45pm

        Re:

        Too late. We already know that blue visits Techdirt so he can touch himself.

        Granted, outside of that twisted fetishism it's hard to imagine anyone else who might do it for him.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 29 Oct 2018 @ 9:27pm

      Re: "Agrees" -- HA, HA! Just recognizing reality.

      Seriously, what would you do with the 80-100 hours a week you spend here if TD went tits up?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    ECA (profile), 29 Oct 2018 @ 5:40pm

    “The California lawsuit is inextricably tied to the outcome of the D.C. case, currently being heard in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. If in that case, a judge finds the FCC overstepped its authority when it revoked the 2015 Open Internet Order, then California’s net neutrality law will, essentially, no longer matter. “

    Umm, NO..

    IF the FCC is right, then you have no choice..

    If they are Wrong, then ???? ..NO..it would be best to HAVE YOUR OWN LAWS...because they can CHANGE Federal law..

    Part of this..is he doesnt want to be the FIRST.. its going to be a hard battle, Unless the Judge gets smart...and tells both sides they have 1 day to STATE the problem. Why fight this in a 5 year long battle, to Prove WHO has rights..

    Also, The main/only thing EACH state has to Do is the laws of the Constitution.. And EACH STATE can have their OWN LAWS..

    And if enough States Jump into this...THEY will have the power.

    Something to think about.. These corps control...TV/CABLE/SAT/Phone/Cellphone/internet ISP(only the last mile in cities) And have been subsidized for years..(WE PAID for much of it) as the Gov. REQUIRED that they be the Emergency system of this nation..

    They could consolidate ALL of these services into 1.. with 1 Fiber line to every home. And placing a Mini Cell system on each box.. You could cover EVERYTHING.. and make it CHEAPER..

    These corps are only bill collectors...they didnt install the original system. NOW they are being asked to UPDATE IT ALL.

    If enough States jump in and Do it...The Gov. cant do anything..

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      MrTea, 3 Nov 2018 @ 4:42pm

      Re:

      I would hope the blue states which suddenly re-discovered "state's rights" by way of their "sanctuary" policies would be all over this.

      But I wouldn't hold my breath.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    MrTea, 3 Nov 2018 @ 5:04pm

    The abuse of federal authority--driven by big money from the biggest corporations--is one of the plagues of our times. This is how the banks can charge you a late fee or overdraft fee that is BIGGER than the actual overdraft or unpaid bill.

    The ones you don't even know about--thanks to our sterling Free Press--are the worst. See "China RX" about the outsourcing of pharmaceuticals, so far ignored by the "news" networks--the author was allowed on C-Span BookTV and also featured on Sharyl Attkisson's "Full Measure" syndicated program.

    You have more right to know where your fish came from than where those expensive pharma products were made. Want to sea an interesting reaction, ask the MD "so where did they MAKE that vaccine?" Pharma is the most powerful lobby in DC, they have 3 lobbyists per member of Congress.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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