$15/month internet service studied

A collection of wires and cables linked to computer hardware provide wired and wireless high-speed internet connection. People became more dependent on reliable internet connection for digital medicine, work and education during the COVID-19 pandemic. Johnson Newspaper Corp.

Telecom industry groups representing AT&T and Verizon Communications sued to block a New York law that requires internet service providers to offer high-speed broadband service to low-income customers at a discount.

The state enacted the requirement this month as part of its 2022 budget legislation. It requires that the service be provided for $15 a month or, for higher-speed broadband, $20 a month, by June 15, according to a complaint filed in a Long Island federal court Friday. The telecom groups seek a declaration that the law is pre-empted by federal law, and a court order blocking it from taking effect.

“In short, New York has overstepped its regulatory authority,” the groups, which include the New York State Telecommunications Association Inc. and the Satellite Broadcasting & Communications Association, said in the lawsuit.

The office of New York Attorney General Letitia James didn’t immediately respond to an email seeking comment on the lawsuit.

Ensuring access to broadband has become a prominent issue, with President Joe Biden proposing a $100 billion effort to connect all Americans. The movement has gained political currency as pandemic lockdowns left families needing internet service for work and education.

On a national level, the major U.S. carriers are discussing ideas about a broadband plan with Washington policy makers. The companies have said it should include adequate federal funding, flexibility on how the service can be delivered — landline or wireless — and clarity on who qualifies for subsidized service.

Because the trade groups that filed the suit claim that the federal government has exclusive authority to regulate interstate provision of broadband services, a ruling against New York could affect other states seeking to pass similar requirements.

The case is New York State Telecommunications Association v. James, 21-cv-02389, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York (Central Islip).

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(4) comments

Joseph Savoca

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More free stuff for Trump!


The telecom industry used to be *very* heavily regulated since they were seen as a natural monopoly - something that must exist to provide a very useful service, but also must not be trusted as it is very easily abused.

Anyone who has done business with the cable company - which is basically all of us - knows this fear is true. If it was up to me, I'd put them in a much shorter leash than just requiring they offer some special categories of discounted service.


Can a state set a maximum price on, say gasoline being sold in the state? The argument of the industry would extend to say that no, the state can't regulate price at the pump because the gasoline came from a well in Venezuela, refined in Texas, and shipped across many state borders. It would also make it impossible for any state to regulate content, or ban any kind of import such as pot or assault rifles from a legalized state to a non legalized one. Wasn't there a very early supreme court decision about this involving shipping between ports of different ex colonies? I think the decision was that the federal government may also regulate interstate commerce, it's not an exclusive right of the states like in state only commerce is. As for the substance, I think it's going to be hard to define low income, people will cheat the system, companies will cheat, and price controls are seldom effective.


Just more free stuff for the gimme crowd.

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