Trade groups representing internet service providers sued the state of New York on Friday, alleging that a new mandate requiring ISPs to offer low-income internet plans capped at $15 each signed two weeks ago oversteps the state’s regulation authority.
The lawsuit was filed by industry associations including the New York State Telecommunications Association, CTIA- The Wireless Association, ACA Connects – America’s Communications Association, USTelecom – The Broadband Association, the Rural Broadband Association, and Statellite Broadcasting & Communications Association.
With this law, New York seeks to regulate broadband rates, the ISPs’ complaint said.
A provision of the recently enacted New York State Fiscal Year 2022 Budget requires wireline, fixed wireless, and satellite broadband providers—no later than June 15, 2021—to begin offering to qualifying low-income consumers high-speed broadband service at a cost to consumers of $15 per month or higher-speed broadband service at a cost to consumers of $20 per month.
ISPs claim the state requirement is preempted by federal law.
ISPs will also be required to allow low-income subscribers to purchase broadband service on a standalone basis, separate from any phone or television service.
The lawsuit states that there are already multiple federal programs that ensures that “broadband is both available and accessible to low-income households.”
Governor Cuomo expected ISPs to fight back
“I knew giant telecom companies would be upset by our efforts to level the playing field, and right on cue, they’re pushing back. This is nothing more than a transparent attempt by billion-dollar corporations putting profit ahead of creating a more fair and just society.
“Let me be abundantly clear — providing internet in the Empire State is not a god given right. If these companies want to pick this fight, impede the ability of millions of New Yorkers to access this essential service and prevent them from participating in our economic recovery, I say bring it on.”