State attorney general joins in calling on FCC to continue broadband customer protection measures

Josh Shapiro

HARRISBURG — Attorney General Josh Shapiro has joined 34 Attorneys General nationwide in urging the Federal Communications Commission to reject a petition from the cable and telecommunications industry intended to stop states from enforcing false advertising laws related to Internet speeds.

In a comment submitted to the FCC, Shapiro and the other Attorneys General underscored the long-standing role of states in protecting broadband consumers. The cable and telecommunications industry is seeking a ruling at exceeds the authority of the FCC and would upend the longstanding dual federal-state regulation of deceptive practices, the comment says. This would leave consumers without state protections from unfair and deceptive business practices related to Internet speeds.

“Broadband providers must adhere to the Internet speeds promises they make to consumers, just like every other industry must obey truth in advertising requirements,” Shapiro said. “My job is to protect Pennsylvania consumers, and I’m calling on the FCC to deny this petition, protect the interests of consumers and cease efforts to undermine the authority of state Attorneys General.”

The state law which the Office of Attorney General uses to protect broadband customers is the Pennsylvania Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law.

“As the chief enforcement officers of our respective states, we understand the vital importance of protecting consumers against unfair and deceptive business practices — including those of broadband providers,” the Attorneys General wrote in the comment to the FCC. “Broadband access is an essential part of our constituents’ work, life, and play. The states’ traditional consumer protection powers must be left undisturbed to protect consumers from false and misleading claims by broadband providers.”

The industry’s petition was submitted on May 15 by two trade associations representing fixed and wireless broadband companies. It seeks to enlist the FCC in improperly gutting state and federal requirements that bar deceptive advertising of Internet speeds, according to Shapiro’s office.