Saturday September 21, 2019
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Beshear: ‘Don’t Gut Broadband Consumer Protections’

Attorney General Andy Beshear has joined a broad, bipartisan coalition of attorneys general in opposing a cable and telecommunications industry petition to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) intended, in part, to halt states from enforcing false advertising laws related to internet speeds.

Beshear said part of his duty is to protect Kentuckians from unfair and deceptive business practices and to ensure consumers are receiving the internet speeds purchased from their cable providers.

Under Kentucky’s Consumer Protection Act, Beshear’s office works with consumers through the complaint process on whether fixed and wireless broadband providers have been truthful in their contracts with consumers.

Beshear said if the FCC “improperly guts” state and federal requirements that bar deceptive advertising of internet speed, his office and Kentuckians will be helpless against false and misleading claims by broadband providers.

“We believe the industry is seeking a ruling that exceeds the authority of the FCC,” Beshear said. “We believe the request is procedurally improper, and would upend the longstanding dual federal-state regulation of deceptive practices in the telecommunications industry. Like other industries that provide goods and services to Kentuckians, providers of broadband internet service must be truthful in their advertisements and be held accountable when they are misleading.”

USTelecom and NCTA (The Internet & Television Association) submitted the industry’s petition to the FCC in May. The industry, specifically, is asking 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.

A total of 35 attorneys general oppose the industry’s petition. Nearby states include Illinois, Indiana, Tennessee and West Virginia.

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