On Sunday, California passed the strictest net neutrality law in the country, which only hours later was followed by a lawsuit from the Department of Justice.
The DOJ claims in the lawsuit that the California bill, signed by Governor Jerry Brown, is “unlawful and anti-consumer” because it is contrary to the federal government’s “deregulatory approach to the Internet.”
Namely, the law prohibits internet providers from slowing down website speeds, blocking access to certain websites and charging extra for large websites such as Netflix and Facebook, The Hill writes.
While some like California Attorney General Xavier Becerra demonstrated support for the bill, others, including Attorney General Jeff Sessions, expressed opposition saying that the federal government has exclusive authority over net neutrality policies.
“The Justice Department should not have to spend valuable time and resources to file this suit today, but we have a duty to defend the prerogatives of the federal government and protect our Constitutional order,” Sessions said.
He further noted that “under the Constitution, states do not regulate interstate commerce,” saying the law was an illegal attempt to “frustrate federal policy.”
Becerra, on the other hand, applauded the passing of the law, which legislators began crafting immediately after the Federal Communications Commission rolled back net neutrality rules last year.
“While the Trump Administration continues to ignore the millions of Americans who voiced strong support for net neutrality rules, California – home to countless start-ups, tech giants and nearly 40 million consumers – will not allow a handful of power brokers to dictate sources for information or the speed at which websites load,” he stressed.
Telecom companies have rallied against the bill since it was first introduced. The United States Telecom Association pointed out that the issue of net neutrality should solely be decided on by the federal government. The president of USTelecom said that instead of other states following California’s example, Congress needs to step up “with a national framework for the whole internet ecosystem and resolve this issue once and for all.”