New York Wants Appellate Court To Reinstate Mandatory $15 Monthly Broadband Service

New York State Attorney General Letitia James wants a federal appellate court to allow the state to enforce a law requiring  broadband providers to offer $15-a-month service to low-income households.

U.S. District Court Judge Denis Hurley in Central Islip, New York, blocked enforcement of the new state law in June. Last week, James initiatied an appeal of Hurley's order, but hasn't yet made any substantive arguments.

Hurley's order stemmed from a challenge to the law by a group of broadband carriers (including the New York State Telecommunications Association, CTIA -- The Wireless Association, ACA Connects--America's Communications Association, US Telecom -- The Broadband Association, NTCA -- the Rural Broadband Association, and Satellite Broadcasting & Communications Association).

They argued that New York state has no authority to set broadband prices, and sought an injunction prohibiting enforcement.

Hurley agreed, writing that the FCC stripped states of the power to regulate pricing in 2018, when it officially reclassified broadband as an "information" service, and revoked a set of common-carrier regulations that had been imposed during the Obama era.

Hurley, an appointee of President George H. W. Bush, said in his written ruling that the FCC's repeal “does not tender jurisdiction to the states to regulate interstate broadband providers as common carriers.”

He added that New York's $15-a-month mandate “stands as an obstacle to the accomplishment and execution of the FCC’s reasoned decision to assure interstate broadband providers that no common-carrier rate regulations await them beyond the horizon.”

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