Net neutrality has been a hot button topic in the United States for the past few years. It became an even hotter topic when the government overturned net neutrality laws — so much so that some states considered reinstating the laws in their specific jurisdictions. That’s exactly what California did as Governor Jerry Brown signed new legislation restoring the laws in his state.
This isn’t going over very well with the United States Justice Department as they are now suing the state of California. The Justice Department says the federal government, not the states, has the exclusive power to regulate these laws.
US attorney general Jeff Sessions said in a statement that “states do not regulate interstate commerce – the federal government does,” after California became the largest state to enact its own rules requiring internet providers to treat all web traffic equally.
“Once again the California legislature has enacted an extreme and illegal state law attempting to frustrate federal policy,” Sessions said in the statement.
Those in favor of net neutrality laws fear that ISP’s will start to favor certain users and businesses which could slow down connections for others. The internet has generally worked the same for everyone and advocates want to keep it that way.
Telecommunications companies lobbied hard to kill off the new California law or water it down, saying it would lead to higher internet and cellphone bills and discourage investments in faster internet. They argued that it was unrealistic to expect them to comply with internet regulations that differ from state to state.
This should be an interesting battle between the federal government and the state of California. It’s likely going to take a while before things are resolved but we will try and cover any news coming from this case.
Last Updated on October 1, 2018.