California’s net neutrality law will remain intact after appeals court says it won’t reconsider earlier ruling

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A federal appeals court has denied a request for a rehearing on its January ruling that upholds California’s net neutrality law. The 2018 law, widely considered the strictest in the United States, was enacted a year after the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) repealed the Open Internet Order. That order had established strict net neutrality rules that prohibited internet service providers from throttling or blocking legal websites and apps, and prohibited ISPs from prioritizing paid content.

The California law, which finally went into effect last year, also prohibits throttling and speed lanes. Wireless trade associations including the NCTA, CTIA and ISPs such as Comcast, Verizon and AT&T have sued to block the California law from taking effect, saying the FCC’s ruling should prevail. on state law. But that challenge was dismissed by a district court judge. The Ninth Circuit voted 3-0 in January to uphold the lower court’s decision, saying the FCC “no longer has the authority” to regulate broadband internet services because the agency reclassified them as ‘information, instead of telecommunications services’. The FCC therefore cannot anticipate the action of the State.

FCC President Jessica Rosenworcel rented the decision on Twitter, reiterating her stance that she wants to see net neutrality become “the law on the ground” again. The FCC cannot currently reinstate net neutrality at the federal level because the panel lacks a majority and the two Democrats and two Republicans remain deadlocked on the issue. President Biden’s FCC nominee, Gigi Sohn, is still awaiting a confirmation vote in the Senate.

The CTIA did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday, while NCTA senior vice president of strategic communications Brian Dietz said the organization had no comment on the decision. If the telecom companies want to pursue the case, the next step would be an appeal to the US Supreme Court to hear the case.

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