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Court Boosts FCC Case in State Net Neutrality Fight

The FCC just got a big boost in its looming fight with states over network neutrality legislation.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit has affirmed that state efforts to regulate information services are preempted by federal law.

That decision came in Charter Advanced Services LLC v. Lange (the state of Minnesota's effort to regulate interconnected VoIP). A district court had concluded that because VoIP was an information service, Minnesota's attempt to regulate it was preempted, and the federal appeals court agreed.

Related: FCC Backs Charter in VoIP Suit

Actually, the FCC has yet to define how it classifies interconnected VoIP, but the court said the FCC has declined to do so for over a decade so the court did not feel it had to wait around, but could shed its own light on the subject, which it did did (check out footnote three, page six here).

The FCC's Restoring Internet Freedom order reclassified internet access from a telecommunications service, which is generally subject to dual federal and state regulation, to an information service, which is not; eliminated net neutrality rules; and pointed out that state efforts to reinstate them were thus preempted, though several states have done so anyway.

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