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California won't enforce net neutrality law as DOJ halts lawsuit

California won't enforce net neutrality law as DOJ halts lawsuit
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California has agreed to temporarily halt enforcement of its expansive new net neutrality law as part of an agreement reached with the Department of Justice (DOJ) on Friday.

The DOJ and California reached an agreement to postpone their court battle over the state's law while a federal appeals court decides the fate of the 2015 repeal of federal net neutrality rules.

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Under the agreement, detailed in filings with a federal court in California, the state won't take any action to enforce its law that was passed late last month while the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) repeal is being litigated.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, who pushed through the repeal last year, said the move was a major concession by net neutrality supporters.

“I am pleased that California has agreed not to enforce its onerous Internet regulations," Pai said in a statement. "This substantial concession reflects the strength of the case made by the United States earlier this month. It also demonstrates, contrary to the claims of the law’s supporters, that there is no urgent problem that these regulations are needed to address."

California state Sen. Scott Wiener (D), who wrote the law, said that though he wishes to see it go into effect as soon as possible, he understands the need to first settle the questions over the repeal.

"Particularly in light of the Trump Administration’s decision to end federal net neutrality protections, California has the power — indeed, the responsibility — to protect access to the internet by our residents, businesses, first responders, healthcare providers, and others," Wiener said in a statement. "This fight is about protecting the health, safety, and vitality of our state."

In a statement, California Attorney General Xavier BecerraXavier BecerraOvernight Energy: GM proposes electric car mandate | Deadline nears for EPA car rule comments | Greens change tactics to mobilize climate voters California won't enforce net neutrality law as DOJ halts lawsuit Dems divided over Pelosi's 'transitional' Speaker pitch MORE said the state would "vigorously defend" its own net neutrality law.

"We are committed to a free and open Internet for Californians. Every step we take, every action we launch is intended to put us in the best position to preserve net neutrality for the 40 million people of our state," Becerra wrote in the statement. "We are fighting the Trump Administration’s attempt to repeal net neutrality in the D.C. Circuit Court and we will vigorously defend California’s own net neutrality law."   

California is among the states that sued the FCC following its rollback of federal regulations. It's also one of dozens that wants to replace the federal rules with state law, despite the FCC preempting such actions in its order.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit will hear oral arguments in the net neutrality case in February.

-- Updated 4:11 p.m.