Comcast asks the FCC to make sure states can’t pass their own net neutrality laws

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Comcast is worried that “blue” states could adopt rules in conflict with the deregulatory efforts on the federal end.

Comcast is lobbying the FCC, asking the agency to make it clear in its new net neutrality laws that states can’t adopt different rules.

“The Commission’s order in this proceeding should include a clear, affirmative ruling that expressly confirms the primacy of federal law with respect to BIAS [broadband interstate access service] as an interstate information service, and that preempts state and local efforts to regulate BIAS either directly or indirectly,” wrote Matthew Brill, an attorney for Latham & Watkins LLP representing Comcast, in a letter to FCC Secretary Marlene Dortch. 

Comcast’s letter follows a similar lobbying effort by Verizon last month, which asserted that “State laws pose a direct threat to the commission and Congress’s recent progress in restoring a light-touch regulatory framework for broadband internet.”

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Now under Republican leadership, the FCC is expected to soon announce a major rollback to rules adopted in 2015, regulating internet service providers as “common carriers,” and thus allowing the agency to more stridently prevent ISPs from discriminating among traffic sources. 

The FCC policy change will reclassify broadband companies as “information services,” which is a more lightly regulated designation. 

For their part, Comcast and Verizon are worried that “blue” states could adopt rules in conflict with the deregulatory efforts on the federal end. 

“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.”

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