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The Washington Post reports that almost as soon as California enacted perhaps the toughest net neutrality regulations in the country, the Trump administration declared its intention to go to court over the policy.

This, the story says, sets up “a high-stakes legal showdown over the future of the Internet.”

The Trump-era Federal Communications Commission (FCC), in rolling back Obama-era net neutrality regulations, has said that those rules reflected the ”heavy hand” of government excess that only served to inhibit innovation and research at telecom and cable companies. Those who object to this move argue that it will mean that companies with deep pockets will be able to pay for faster access to consumers, which is not in the public interest.

The lines between the two sides of the issue have been fairly specific, with content companies like Amazon and Google favoring net neutrality, and distribution companies like Comcast, Verizon, AT&T and Time Warner lobbying for deregulation.

The new California law, the Post writes, “prohibits Internet providers from blocking access to sites and services, slowing down web connections or charging companies for faster delivery of their movies, music or other content. Smaller web firms, in particular, worry that they do not have the resources to pay telecom giants to make sure their content is seen. The law also bans carriers from exempting apps from counting toward consumers’ data allowances each month if doing so might harm companies, especially start-ups.”

Ajit Pai, chairman of the FCC, said that he was “pleased” that the Justice department was challenging California’s “illegal” move, saying, “The internet is inherently an interstate information service. As such, only the federal government can set policy in this area.”

The Post writes that “the move by Attorney General Jeff Sessions opens another legal battlefield between the federal government and California, which the DOJ has taken to court already for trying to bypass the Trump administration’s policies around immigration and climate change.”
KC's View:
I continue to be on the side of the content guys, and in this case, California. I have argued consistently and persistently that retailers ought to be siding with the internet companies, lest the distribution companies exercise way too much control over how efficiently and effectively they can communicate with online shoppers.