N.Y. State Low-Cost Broadband Law Blocked by U.S. Judge

A federal judge granted a preliminary order blocking New York state from enforcing a law that requires internet service providers to offer high-speed broadband service to low-income customers at a discount.

U.S. District Judge Denis Hurley in Central Islip, New York, sided with telecom industry groups representing AT&T Inc. and Verizon Communications Inc., which sued to block the law. The legislation was enacted in April as part of the state’s 2022 budget and requires broadband service be provided by June 15.

Hurley said in a ruling Friday that the service New York seeks to regulate “has never been subject to rate regulation at the federal or state level.”

Richard Azzopardi, a spokesman for New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, said the state plans to appeal.

“We always knew big telecom would pull out all the stops to protect their profits at the expense of the New Yorkers who need access to this vital utility the most,” Azzopardi said. “We are going to continue to fight for them.”

Hurley said the state’s rate regulation intrudes on and is preempted by federal law. He also said it conflicts with an FCC order that concluded common-carrier regulation of broadband is contrary to the public interest.

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