Net neutrality law to take effect in California after judge deals blow to telecom industry

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California may soon begin enforcing its first-in-the-nation net neutrality law after a federal judge ruled against broadband providers that had sought to scuttle the state’s open-Internet safeguards. The ruling amounts to a major victory for advocates of rules that require broadband service providers to treat all Web traffic equally, potentially setting the stage for states nationwide to follow California’s lead and adopt tough new protections of their own. Judge John Mendez of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California "found that the law is on a solid legal foundation and that the ISPs trying to overturn it are not likely to prevail,” said Barbara van Schewick, a law professor at Stanford University. She penned one of the legal briefs in support of the law and against the Internet providers that had sought an injunction to stop it from taking effect. “This is a huge victory for net neutrality and bodes well for other states that have adopted net neutrality requirements,” said Andrew Jay Schwartzman, senior counselor to the Benton Institute for Broadband & Society, which had filed an amicus brief in support of California’s rules.

The four trade groups that had filed the lawsuit — America’s Communications Association, CTIA, the NCTA and USTelecom — said they “will review the court’s opinion before deciding on next steps,” signaling a potential appeal that could again forestall enforcement of California’s rules. “A state-by-state approach to Internet regulation will confuse consumers and deter innovation, just as the importance of broadband for all has never been more apparent,” they said in a joint statement. “We agree with the Court that a piecemeal approach is untenable and that Congress should codify rules for an open Internet.”



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