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California can finally enforce its landmark net neutrality law, judge rules

California can finally enforce its landmark net neutrality law, judge rules


It survived challenges from Trump’s DOJ, and now one from telecom industry too

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Illustration of several Wi-Fi symbols: one filled in with white and the others just outlines.
Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Net neutrality died a horrible death in 2017, but things have just turned around: California’s landmark net neutrality law — erected in 2018 but immediately blocked by lawsuits from Trump’s Department of Justice and the telecom industry — can finally be enforced.

That’s the verdict from Judge John Mendez today, who declined to grant the telecom industry the preliminary injunction it had requested. The case might not be over, but the law can go into effect — and the judge doesn’t think the telecom industry is likely to win.

According to MLEx journalist Mike Swift and The Hollywood Reporter’s Eriq Gardner, each of whom had been following the decision live, Judge Mendez believes it should be up to Congress to say whether net neutrality should exist:

The DOJ dropped its own lawsuit challenging the California law earlier this month, so the telecom industry’s possible preliminary injunction was the last thing standing in the way — for now.

Here’s the acting chairwoman of the FCC’s thoughts on the matter:

California State Senator Scott Weiner, who authored the bill, is celebrating:

And so am I, as a California resident who knows it’s past time to fix the internet.

Here’s the full text of the California Internet Consumer Protection and Net Neutrality Act of 2018, also known as SB-822. It contains a list of things that ISPs are not going to be able to do, including paid prioritization, “zero-rating” favorable content so it doesn’t count against your data cap (think of those bundled streaming services!), and failing to tell you fast service actually is and how their network management practices and speeds actually work.