Heavyweight industry organizations are suing the state of Vermont in federal court over two symbiotic efforts to restore net neutrality to pre-Open Internet Order status.
On Thursday, the American Cable Association, NCTA-The Internet & Television Association, USTelecom and CTIA filed suit in US District Court in Vermont. The case mirrors the lawsuit the same group of plaintiffs filed against the State of California earlier this month. (See ISPs vs. California: Net Neutrality Battle Heads West.)
In this case, the plaintiffs charge the Green Mountain State's leaders -- including the governor; secretary of administration; secretary and CIO, plus commissioner of the Vermont Department of Public Service -- of "unconstitutionally" regulating the provisioning of broadband Internet via Vermont's Senate Bill 289, Ex. 1 (S. 289), and Vermont Executive Order No. 2-18, Ex. 2.
Anticipating the lawsuit, Governor Phil Scott's office released a statement on October 18, vowing to fight the lawsuit and to retain Net Neutrality within Vermont.
"Our net neutrality legislation and my Executive Order demonstrate a clear commitment from Vermont's elected officials, across branches and party lines, to preserving and promoting a free and open internet in Vermont. I am disappointed to hear national telecom and cable organizations plan to sue us for taking action to protect our citizens and our economy," he said in the release. "While I understand consistent regulation is important to ensuring a vibrant and thriving telecom and cable sector, our obligation as a state government is to our citizens, who I strongly believe have a right to free and open access to information on the Internet. In the absence of a national standard to protect that right, states must act. I am committed to working with the Attorney General's Office to stand up for these rights in court."
Since tossing out the 2015 rules regulating Internet-provider classification and access equality, legislators in 30 states introduced more than 72 bills promoting some form of net neutrality, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. These include six states -- Hawaii, New Jersey, New York, Montana, Rhode Island and Vermont -- where governors signed executive orders, and three states -- Oregon, Vermont and Washington -- which enacted net neutrality laws. In addition, legislators in 13 states and the District of Columbia introduced 23 resolutions primarily opposing the Federal Communications Commission's repeal of and support for net neutrality, the organization reported.
— Alison Diana, Editor, Broadband World News. Follow us on Twitter or @alisoncdiana.