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TRENTON, NJ: 2.5.2018 – Calling an open and free internet vital to state government services and virtually every aspect of daily life in New Jersey, Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal announced today that New Jersey is joining a multi-state lawsuit against the Federal Communications Commission seeking to block the FCC’s rollback of net neutrality. 

“We are committed to taking whatever legal action we can to preserve the internet rights of New Jersey consumers, and to challenge the federal government’s misguided attack on a free and open internet,” said Attorney General Grewal. “The Federal Communications Commission acted arbitrarily and against the evidence before it when doing its about-face on net neutrality. If the FCC has its way, ISPs will be able to play favorites on the internet, deciding which consumers can have access to what content and features … deciding, essentially, what consumers can do, say and view online.”

“We may not agree with everything we see online, but that does not give us a justifiable reason to block the free, uninterrupted, and indiscriminate flow of information,” New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy said. “And, it certainly doesn’t give certain companies or individuals a right to pay their way to the front of the line. While New Jersey cannot unilaterally regulate net neutrality back into law or cement it as a state regulation, we can exercise our power as a consumer to make our preferences known.”

Governor Phil Murphy signs an executive order requiring that all internet service providers wanting to do business in NJ adhere to the principles of net neutrality in Newark, New Jersey on Monday, February 5th, 2018. OIT/Governor’s Office.

The lawsuit alleges that the FCC has departed, without justification, from a long-standing policy and practice of defending net neutrality while either misinterpreting or ignoring evidence in the record of potential harm to consumers and businesses. The suit asserts that the FCC’s “arbitrary and capricious” shift in policy is prohibited under the Administrative Procedure Act. It also alleges that the federal repeal of net neutrality involves a “sweeping” and unlawful preemption of state and local laws.

Led by New York and including a coalition of 22 states, the suit names the FCC and the federal government as defendants. The coalition has filed a petition for review of the FCC’s decision in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.