Press Release Net Neutrality

Public Knowledge Defends California’s Net Neutrality Protections at Federal Appeals Court

May 12, 2021 , , ,

Last night, Public Knowledge joined Access Now, Free Press, Mozilla Corporation, and New America’s Open Technology Institute in filing an amicus brief at the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in the case of ACA Connects v. Bonta.

Courts have repeatedly held that when the Federal Communications Commission gave up its authority to regulate broadband, it opened up space for states to enact their own broadband consumer protections. In this case, broadband providers are trying yet again to convince a court otherwise, and are asking the Ninth Circuit to throw out SB 822, the California Internet Consumer Protection and Net Neutrality Act, overturning the district court below that has already found their arguments meritless. In addition to being important for California residents, this case will have implications across the country, in states like Vermont that have also put into place net neutrality rules, and New York, which recently required broadband providers to offer an affordable baseline level of service.

The following can be attributed to John Bergmayer, Legal Director at Public Knowledge:

“Consumers often have no choice of broadband provider — when they have service at all. We need rules of the road to make sure that broadband providers don’t abuse their market position. This brief demonstrates that the California Internet Consumer Protection and Net Neutrality Act is needed to protect broadband users from a pattern of abuses and net neutrality violations.

“It also shows that the consumer protections for broadband users that the FCC created in 2015, and repealed by the FCC in 2017, did not reduce broadband investment. Nor did the less-regulated U.S. broadband market perform better than more regulated international broadband markets during the unprecedented challenges posed by changed broadband usage patterns during the pandemic.

“More broadly, California stepped up to protect California residents when the FCC decided not to do its job. This is how the federal system works. But Public Knowledge and other advocates will continue to work to ensure that broadband users across the nation have protections as good as those that California residents now enjoy.”

You may view the brief for more information.