California can finally enforce its landmark net neutrality law, judge ruleslaw — erected in 2018 but immediately blocked by lawsuits from Trump’s Department of Justice and the telecom industry — can finally be enforced.
That’s the verdict from Judge John Mendez today, who declined to grant the telecom industry the preliminary injunction it had requested. The case might not be over, but the law can go into effect — and the judge doesn’t think the telecom industry is likely to win.
According to MLEx journalist Mike Swift and The Hollywood Reporter’s Eriq Gardner, each of whom had been following the decision live, Judge Mendez believes it should be up to Congress to say whether net neutrality should exist:
The DOJ dropped its own lawsuit challenging the California law earlier this month, so the telecom industry’s possible preliminary injunction was the last thing standing in the way — for now.
Mendez says it should be up to Congress, not federal courts, to regulate #NetNeutrality "When you have to deal with legislation drafted in 1934 in 2021, I don’t think anyone is well served …That is Congress' job. They have to keep up with what is going on in the real world." https://t.co/4yceR9bbT4
— Mike Swift (@Swiftstories) February 23, 2021
As for the public interest, during the hearing, the judge took a lesson from the Texas winter storms this month. "The government decided to back off on the energy companies… It didn’t serve the public well.”
— Eriq Gardner (@eriqgardner) February 23, 2021
Here’s the acting chairwoman of the FCC’s thoughts on the matter:
When the FCC, over my objection, rolled back its #netneutrality policies, states like California sought to fill the void with their own laws. Tonight a court in California decided that the state law can go into effect. This is big news for #openinternet policy.
— Jessica Rosenworcel (@JRosenworcel) February 24, 2021
California State Senator Scott Weiner, who authored the bill, is celebrating:
MAJOR WIN FOR NET NEUTRALITY!
The federal court just rejected the effort by telecom & cable companies to block enforcement of the net neutrality law I authored, #SB822!
The court ruled that California has the authority to protect net neutrality.
SB 822 can now be enforced!
— Senator Scott Wiener (@Scott_Wiener) February 24, 2021
And so am I, as a California resident who knows it’s past time to fix the internet.
Here’s the full text of the California Internet Consumer Protection and Net Neutrality Act of 2018, also known as SB-822. It contains a list of things that ISPs are not going to be able to do, including paid prioritization, “zero-rating” favorable content so it doesn’t count against your data cap (think of those bundled streaming services!), and failing to tell you fast service actually is and how their network management practices and speeds actually work.