Broadband Industry Lobby Groups Sue Vermont to Stop State Net Neutrality Law

Last week, broadband industry lobby groups sued Vermont to stop a state law that requires Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to follow net neutrality principles in order to qualify for government contracts. The lawsuit was filed in Vermont district court by CTIA, NCTA, USTelecom, and the ACA. These groups represent all of the biggest mobile and home ISPs in the US, including Comcast, AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile US, Sprint, and CenturyLink.

The same plaintiffs have also previously sued California to stop an even stricter net neutrality law. The California law applies to all consumer broadband providers; however, Vermont’s law is narrower. It creates a process in which ISPs can certify their compliance with net neutrality guidelines, and prevents state agencies from purchasing internet services from anyone without such certifications. Furthermore, Vermont governor Phil Scott issued an executive order imposing similar requirements on state agencies.

Plaintiffs ask the court to rule that both the Vermont law and executive order are preempted by federal law. The lawsuit could serve as a test case for other states that are also attempting to regulate net neutrality indirectly through state contracts with ISPs.

See American Cable Association et al v. Scott et al on Justia.

Additional Reading

Entire broadband industry sues Vermont to stop state net neutrality law, Ars Technica October 19, 2018

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