Friday, January 28, 2022
Benton Applauds California's Net Neutrality Court Victory
Today, a panel of the United States Court of Appeals issued an opinion in America Connects v. Bonta (No. 21-15430). The decision affirmed a district court opinion upholding California’s net neutrality mandate, rejecting ISPs’ argument that the new statute is preempted by federal law.
The following may be attributed to Andrew Jay Schwartzman, Senior Counselor, Benton Institute for Broadband & Society:
This is the right decision. It will ensure that the people of California will continue to have unfettered internet access, blocks internet providers from discriminating against websites for financial or political gain, and reduces the chance that their customers will be ripped off.
While this case is about a California statute, it has national significance. Several states that have followed California’s lead in adopting network neutrality policies are facing similar challenges claiming that federal law preempts such requirements. Today’s well-reasoned, unanimous opinion will likely assist in the defense of those lawsuits.
There is a broad consensus that the ultimate solution to the network neutrality debate is Congressional legislation. It may well be that this decision will help stakeholders find common ground to pass such a law. But the American public can’t wait, so state laws like California’s remain necessary for the foreseeable future.
[The Benton Institute for Broadband & Society joined with a number of other public interest organizations in filing a friend of court brief in supporting California in asking the Court of Appeals to affirm the lower court order.]
The Benton Institute for Broadband & Society is a non-profit organization dedicated to ensuring that all people in the U.S. have access to competitive, High-Performance Broadband regardless of where they live or who they are. We believe communication policy - rooted in the values of access, equity, and diversity - has the power to deliver new opportunities and strengthen communities.
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