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Financial Services Law Insights and Observations

Bipartisan Coalition of State Attorneys General File Petition to the FCC Seeking Broadband Consumer Protections

Agency Rule-Making & Guidance Privacy/Cyber Risk & Data Security State Attorney General Disclosures

Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

On June 19, New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced a petition filed on behalf of a bipartisan coalition of 35 state attorneys general to jointly oppose a cable and telecommunications industry petition, which is intended to stop state and local authorities from enforcing state consumer protection laws and leave the regulating of broadband disclosure requirements to the authority of the FCC. In seeking a declaratory ruling from the FCC, the industry groups request confirmation and clarification on federal regulatory requirements governing broadband speed disclosures, and further assert that “national, uniform rules [are] particularly important” once the FCC launches procedures to implement a “national ‘light-touch framework.’” In response to the petition, the FCC filed a public notice for comment on May 17. The state attorneys general, in responding to the request, claim the petition “asks the FCC to convert a limited safe harbor from FCC’s own enforcement, into blanket federal and state immunity for fixed and wireless broadband companies from liability for false statements contained in advertisements and marketing.” Furthermore, they assert that the industry groups are seeking a ruling that exceeds the FCC’s authority, is “procedurally improper,” and would “upend the longstanding dual federal-state regulation of deceptive practices in the telecommunications industry—which would leave consumers across the country without the basic state protections from unfair and deceptive business practices.”

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