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Justice Department Drops California Net Neutrality Fight (1)

Feb. 8, 2021, 8:26 PMUpdated: Feb. 8, 2021, 9:23 PM

The Biden administration is seeking to withdraw a federal lawsuit challenging California’s net neutrality law.

The Justice Department Monday filed to dismiss the case, which the Trump administration launched in 2018 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California.

Telecommunications industry trade groups continue to challenge the law in the same court. A hearing is scheduled for Feb. 23.

Acting FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel praised the Justice Department’s move. States like California “sought to fill the void with their own laws” after the FCC rolled back Obama-era net neutrality rules that banned internet service providers from blocking, throttling, and prioritizing certain internet traffic, Rosenworcel said in a statement.

“Washington is listening to the American people, who overwhelmingly support an open internet, and is charting a course to once again make net neutrality the law of the land,” Rosenworcel said.

ACA Connects, CTIA and other industry groups challenging the California law argue that states can’t regulate broadband internet service because it is an interstate service under the FCC’s jurisdiction. California argues that the Trump-era FCC’s deregulation of internet services does not preempt states from enacting their own net neutrality laws.

The Justice Department filed the suit hours after the law was signed on Sept. 30, 2018.

The case is United States of America v. State of California, E.D. Cal., No. 2:18-cv-02660, notice of dismissal 2/8/21

(Updates with additional reporting.)

To contact the reporter on this story: Jon Reid in Washington at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Keith Perine at; Kibkabe Araya at