Gov. Jerry Brown signed California’s “net neutrality” law Sunday, and the U.S. Department of Justice responded almost immediately by filing a lawsuit to block the measure.
“The United States concluded that California, through Senate Bill 822, is attempting to subvert the Federal Government’s deregulatory approach by imposing burdensome state regulations on the free Internet, which is unlawful and anti-consumer,” says a statement issued Sunday by the DOJ.
State Sen. Scott Wiener’s bill is intended to prevent Internet providers from “throttling” customers’ online speeds, offering “fast lanes” to heavyweight sites like Google and Facebook, and limiting or barring consumers’ access to certain sites.
Telecom companies are also expected to sue to block California’s first-in-the-nation measure.
“Rather than 50 states stepping in with their own conflicting open internet solutions, we need Congress to step up with a national framework for the whole internet ecosystem and resolve this issue once and for all,” the United States Telecom Association said in a statement.
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra tweeted that the state “will not allow a handful of power brokers to dictate sources for information or the speed at which websites load.”
The chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, Ajit Pai, who joined U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions in opposing California’s measure, issued the following statement:
“I’m pleased the Department of Justice has filed this suit. The Internet is inherently an interstate information service. … Not only is California’s internet regulation law illegal, it also hurts consumers. The law prohibits many free-data plans, which allow consumers to stream video, music, and the like exempt from any data limits. They have proven enormously popular in the marketplace, especially among lower-income Americans. But notwithstanding the consumer benefits, this state law bans them. … I look forward to working with my colleagues and the Department of Justice to ensure the Internet remains ‘unfettered by Federal or State regulation,’ as federal law requires, and the domain of engineers, entrepreneurs, and technologists, not lawyers and bureaucrats.”