ISPs Continue Anti-Net Neutrality Litigation Rampage, Sues Vermont

Big US ISPs are continuing their litigation tour of America. Their next target to stop network neutrality is Vermont.

Big US ISPs are developing what is beginning to look like a sue-em-all campaign across America. These moves appear to be in response to various states moving to save network neutrality at the state level. All this in stark defiance to American regulator, the FCC (Federal Communications Commission). The FCC, last year, scrapped network neutrality last year and passed provisions explicitly banning states from protecting network neutrality.

Fast forward to this month, the Trump administration through the Department of Justice (DOJ) blasted California for passing network neutrality laws. They said it would cause “irreparable harm” to America. In response to the laws passage, a lawsuit was filed against California. Operating in lock-step with the DOJ, big US ISPs quickly followed that up by filing their own lawsuit against California days later.

Now, it seems that ISPs are not content with trying to make California an example. News is surfacing that the big ISPs are also suing the state of Vermont, opening another front on the war on network neutrality. From ArsTechnica:

The nation’s largest broadband industry lobby groups have sued Vermont to stop a state law that requires ISPs to follow net neutrality principles in order to qualify for government contracts.

The lawsuit was filed yesterday in US District Court in Vermont by mobile industry lobby CTIA, cable industry lobby NCTA, telco lobby USTelecom, the New England Cable & Telecommunications Association, and the American Cable Association (ACA), which represents small and mid-size cable companies.

While the California law applies to all consumer broadband providers, Vermont’s law is narrower and may be more likely to survive legal challenge. Vermont’s law creates a process in which ISPs can certify that they comply with net neutrality guidelines, and it says that state agencies may only buy Internet service from ISPs that obtain those certifications.

Vermont Governor Phil Scott, a Republican, also issued an executive order imposing similar requirements on state agencies. The broadband industry lawsuit asks the court to rule that both the Vermont law and executive order are preempted by federal law.

One thing is for sure, it’s hard to call this anything other than an outright legal war. If you think that various states would decide on picking battles and leaving such a tiny little issue like network neutrality drop, that’s not likely going to happen. Already, Washington State governor, Jay Inslee, went on record to respond to the possible litigation threat from the Trump administration with the quote “Bring it on. If the president sues us, we’ll be ready.

So, we already have the ISP industry suing at least two states and one governor practically daring the Trump administrations side to sue their state as well. AS we pointed out previously, it looks like things are going to escalate from here. That has already come to fruition and it still looks like things can only escalate from here.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Google+.


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