Making abundantly clear that they will "stop at nothing to destroy net neutrality for good," four telecom lobbying groups representing the nation's most powerful internet providers and cable companies sued California on Wednesday to stop the state's gold standard open internet legislation from taking effect.
"It's no surprise that they're suing, but it does make it even more blatant and clear that Jeff Sessions and Ajit Pai are working directly on behalf of Big Cable in trying to block basic consumer protection legislation."
—Evan Greer, Fight for the Future
"Big telecom companies hate the California net neutrality bill because it prevents them from screwing over their customers more than they already do," Evan Greer, deputy director of Fight for the Future, said in a statement. "It's no surprise that they're suing, but it does make it even more blatant and clear that Jeff Sessions and Ajit Pai are working directly on behalf of Big Cable in trying to block basic consumer protection legislation that passed with overwhelming bipartisan support."
"No one wants their cable company to be able to charge extra fees or control what websites they visit and what apps they use," Greer added.
Incensed by SB 822's strong protections against throttling and exorbitant fees, the industry groups behind the lawsuit argued in a statement that the "nation's broadband providers are the innovation engine of America's digital economy" and attacked California's widely praised bill as "a classic example of unconstitutional state regulation."
No surprise here. These companies will stop at nothing to destroy #NetNeutrality for good. Chip in to help us fight them and defend free speech on the Internet: https://t.co/DgBZfkiDxE https://t.co/yiG2RrPFAh— Fight for the Future (@fightfortheftr) October 3, 2018
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While massive telecom companies like Verizon and AT&T frequently claim to support net neutrality, these corporate behemoths have spent hundreds of millions of dollars over the past several years attempting to kill open internet protections and stand to reap enormous profits from the Republican-controlled FCC's repeal of net neutrality rules last December.
With its suit against California, Big Telecom joined President Donald Trump's Justice Department in taking legal action to undercut any state efforts to establish their own net neutrality protections to fill the regulatory void left by the FCC.
Filed just hours after Gov. Jerry Brown signed SB 822 into law on Sunday, the Justice Department's lawsuit was immediately denounced by open internet advocates as "unfortunate and hypocritical in the extreme."
As Greer of Fight for the Future noted on Wednesday, the lawsuits by the Trump administration and Big Telecom "underscore the fact that Congress needs to do its job and pass the resolution to reverse the FCC's repeal. Until that happens, we'll fight to defend the California law, and push for other states to follow suit."