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California Net Neutrality Law Put on Hold Until Federal Lawsuit Is Resolved

WASHINGTON — California’s net neutrality law, signed last month by Gov. Jerry Brown, will be put on hold until federal litigation over the FCC’s role is resolved.

The state’s attorney general, Xavier Becerra, agreed to pause the implementation of the law, which includes the strongest net neutrality protections of any state measure that has passed recently. The same day that Brown signed the law, the Justice Department sued to stop it, arguing that only the federal government can regulate interstate commerce.

California’s passage of the law was in response to the FCC’s decision late last year to repeal many of the net neutrality rules it had in place, including ones that ban internet providers from blocking or throttling traffic, or engaging in paid privatization.

After that action, a number of public interest groups and state attorneys general sued to challenge the FCC’s action, including a provision to preempt any state-level attempts to implement their own net neutrality rules. Oral arguments in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals case are scheduled for Feb. 1.

FCC chairman Ajit Pai called California’s agreement to pause its law a “substantial concession” that “reflects the strength of the case made by the United States earlier this month. It also demonstrates, contrary to the claims of the law’s supporters, that there is no urgent problem that these regulations are needed to address.”

State Sen. Scott Wiener, who authored California’s law, said, “of course, I very much want to see California’s net neutrality law go into effect immediately, in order to protect access to the internet. Yet I also understand and support the Attorney General’s rationale for allowing the DC circuit appeal to be resolved before we move forward to defend our net neutrality law in court.”

California’s law was due to go into effect on Jan. 1.

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