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FCC Chairman Calls California's Net Neutrality Laws 'Illegal'

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Sep 18, 2018, 7:25 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   @zeman_e

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai pulled no punches when remarking on the state of California's recently-passed net neutrality rules. Speaking at the Maine Heritage Policy Center, Pai heaped criticism on the state's legislature. Last month, California passed laws that will require companies that supply internet services to refrain from throttling traffic, blocking content or offering pair prioritization — similar to the laws the FCC enacted in 2015. Pai called the bill "radical, anti-consumer" and "burdensome." Pai went on to suggest that the law will prevent people on California from taking advantage of free-data plans, which let people stream content without incurring data fees. "Nanny-state California legislators apparently want to ban their constituents from having this choice," said Pai. Pai believes California's move is a threat to the rest of the country. The internet is an interstate service and state boundaries are not recognized as information moves around. Due to the interstate nature of the internet, Pai believes only federal law can regulate it. "This is why efforts like California‚Äôs are illegal," he noted. California Governor Jerry Brown has yet to sign the legislation. Pai implied that the FCC will take action against California should the bill become law. Pai's Republican-led FCC stripped away net neutrality regulations in December 2017 and the change went into effect in June. Pai expects the industry to police itself with transparency, and pushed the responsibility of enforcement action over to the FTC.

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