California Asks Court to Deny Injunction Against its Net Neutrality Rules

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California Attorney General Xavier Becerra has filed the state's opposition to the Trump Administration's request for a preliminary injunction to block California's net neutrality law from going into effect.

Enforcement is "on hold," as Becerra's office points out, until the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eastern District of California rules on the various motions.

Related: California's Net Neutrality Challenged

The FCC's deregulation of internet access included a preemption of state regs that conflicted with that decision. But California passed its own tough net neutrality rules to fill what it saw as a regulatory void.

The government is seeking a preliminary injunction to block California from being able to enforce the law. In 2018, California agreed not to enforce its own state net neutrality law until a final court decision on the FCC repeal.

ACA Connects and other ISP organizations filed similar motions to put the California law on hold.

The California filing this week argues that the FCC had no authority to either preempt state net neutrality laws or to impose a federal access deregulatory policy binding on the states.

There is a high bar for an injunction, and AG Becerra said the FCC has failed to meet that bar, including that allowing the law to go into effect would cause irreparable harm.

By contrast, the state told the court, barring enforcement of its net neutrality law would be particularly harmful given how important a free and open internet is during the pandemic and wildfires, where alerts and public evacuations increasingly depend on the internet.

Meanwhile, Vermont Attorney General T.J. Donovan has agreed to hold off net neutrality litigation in that state pending a decision in the California case.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.