Trade Groups Drop Net Neutrality Suit, Ericsson Builds Wireless Testbed for Utilities, Think Tank’s Antitrust Approach

ISP challenge was holdout after Department of Justice dropped a similar suit.

Trade Groups Drop Net Neutrality Suit, Ericsson Builds Wireless Testbed for Utilities, Think Tank’s Antitrust Approach
Photo of Barbara van Schewick from Stanford University

May 5, 2022 – Internet trade groups that held on to a legal challenge of California’s net neutrality law have dropped their case Wednesday after a federal appeals court upheld the law earlier this year.

The industry trade groups, including US Telecom, the cable industry groups NCTA and ACA Connects, and the wireless association CTIA were the hold out against the law, after the Department of Justice dropped their own challenge to the law.

“Today is a historic win for Californians and the open internet,” read a statement from Barbara van Schewick, Professor of law at Stanford University who was involved in the case.

“The end of this litigation is a boon for free speech, competition and innovation on the internet.”

The law prohibits internet service providers from treating data over the internet differently and, in certain cases, taking payments to provide certain traffic for free.

At the federal level, the net neutrality issue is expected to be re-examined by a new-look Federal Communications Commission that includes as its head a defender of the principle. In 2017, the agency revoked net neutrality rules imposed by the agency headed by appointees of former President Barack Obama in 2015.

Ericsson builds center for utilities to test wireless tech

Ericsson announced Wednesday the opening of its Global Utilities Innovation Center at its facility in Plano, Texas as a new platform to help utility companies test 4G and 5G technologies.

The new facility consists of an operating lab and demo environment that will allow utilities to work with the Swedish telecom equipment maker to test wireless technologies on its existing structures.

“This center is a state-of-the-art facility where we can work closely with utility companies, exploring new 4G and 5G use cases and delivering end-to-end solutions” said Per Wahlen, head of business development at Ericsson North America, in a press release.

Phoenix Center Study seeks a middle ground for platform guidance

A Washington D.C. think tank is recommending a different approach against antitrust legislation currently before Congress that hopes to tackle preferential treatment big tech platforms give their own products.

A report Wednesday by the Phoenix Center for Advanced Legal and Economic Public Policy Studies suggests that the American Innovation and Choice Online Act (S.2992) will hamper and reduce customer wellbeing. Instead, the think tank recommends that instead of imposing a legal requirement on platforms, those platforms can signal that goodwill to consumers.

“Allowing a retail platform to provide an information signal to consumers can be welfare enhancing, and no legal obligation is necessary to insure this result. Accordingly, because the American Innovation and Choice Act directly targets such welfare-enhancing practices, this bill is likely to do more harm than good,” the think tank said.

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