Some of the fastest internet providers in the US are vying to ensure that once FCC uses the veto power to deregulate the broadband segment, the states won’t be able to override the FCC regulations on broadband. In fact, Comcast® and Verizon® have queried the Telco regulators to state that Federal Communications Commission’s new stand on Net Neutrality would preempt the state and regional regulations which may be different.
The FCC should “include a clear, affirmative ruling that expressly confirms the primacy of federal law with respect to [broadband] as an interstate information service,” said Comcast® in a recent regulatory filing with the Commission. Verizon® also vied for the preemption, citing the moves by around 30 states, including Washington DC, to fall back to a congressional measure revoking the FCC’s Net Neutrality in a white paper.
At stake is privacy protection for the consumers, a 2015 ruling that prevents the internet providers from blocking, throttling internet speeds, or giving priority to certain websites at the expense of other websites. When the ruling on Net Neutrality came then, many groups supported net neutrality as important for the consumers while the broadband companies opposed the regulations imposed on them.
John Bergmayer, who is a senior counsel at Public Knowledge, said that while the commission has certain veto power, “the FCC has no power to pre-empt state consumer- protection laws. There are questions about what counts as ‘consumer protection’ that would have to be answered.”
In fact, the reason for the protest is the Commission’s decision to categorize them as “common carriers”, the same as the one applicable to the cellular providers. In fact, under Donald Trump’s Republican governance, the FCC now plans to reclassify broadband companies under “information services”.
The FCC would be putting forth a vote on renewals with regards to Net Neutrality in the next month. Consequently, the broadband segment is skeptic fearing that if the Commission succeeds in deregulating broadband segment, the states may take steps that countermand their decision.
“Allowing every state and locality to chart its own course for regulating broadband is a recipe for disaster,” Verizon® said. “It would impose localized and likely inconsistent burdens on an inherently interstate service.”