FCC to preempt state broadband laws

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In addition to ditching its own network neutrality rules, the Federal Communications Commission also plans to tell state and local governments that they cannot impose local laws regulating broadband service. This detail was revealed by senior FCC officials in a phone briefing with reporters, and is a victory for broadband providers that asked for widespread preemption of state laws. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai's proposed order finds that state and local laws must be preempted if they conflict with the US government's policy of deregulating broadband Internet service, FCC officials said. The FCC will vote on the order at its December 14 meeting.

It isn't clear yet exactly how extensive the preemption will be. Preemption would clearly prevent states from imposing net neutrality laws similar to the ones being repealed by the FCC, but also could prevent state laws related to the privacy of Internet users or other consumer protections. Chairman Pai's staff said that states and other localities do not have jurisdiction over broadband because it is an interstate service, and that it would subvert federal policy for states and localities to impose their own rules. FCC officials did not take questions from Ars during today's phone briefing, but we have followed up with Chairman Pai's office to get more details on the scope of the proposed preemption. We will update this story if we get a response. Pai's draft order will be released publicly tomorrow, and may provide more detail.


FCC to preempt state broadband laws