Santa Clara County to file lawsuit over repeal of net neutrality

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Santa Clara County officials say they will file a lawsuit to challenge the repeal of net neutrality in order to preserve fair and equal access to the internet.

Santa Clara County council member James Williams added that the lawsuit will be filed to help preserve the county's ability to provide crucial health and safety services. "The reversal of net neutrality is arbitrary and unjustified and is therefore unlawful," he said.

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Net neutrality was born as regulators, consumer advocates and internet companies voiced concern about what broadband companies could do with their power as the gateway to the internet - blocking or slowing down apps that rival their own services, for example.

Officials made the announcement during a press conference at the County Government Center in San Jose. District 5 Supervisor Joe Simitian says he's concerned internet service providers could block, slow, or charge more for lawful content. "Frankly, our concern is that it's a matter of our ability as a county to provide the residents of Santa Clara County with the services they need to be safe and secure."

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County Executive Jeff Smith says Santa Clara County never experienced any throttling before net neutrality rules were implemented two years ago, but since then the county has increased reliance on cloud-based communications and internet services for public safety and access to county services.

Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith says her department has increased the use of internet communications over the past two years and changes in service could impact public safety.

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