A slate of recent Federal Communications Commission policy changes intended to speed 5G adoption has reopened old wounds for some state and municipal governments that feel they’ve lost ground during the Trump administration on issues ranging from local infrastructure decisions to net neutrality protections.
The result is likely to be consolidated lawsuits from states and localities over the new regulations, with some likely to come up with their own counter-policies, which could be challenged by either the federal government or industry players happy with the FCC’s interventionist policies.
These dynamics are playing out on both the federal and state levels too, said William Marticorena, a Rutan & Tucker LLP partner focusing on local governments.
“I find this [Trump] administration very transactional and very driven by who their particular donor class on a particular issue is. This is an administration that hates regulation unless somebody that supports them likes regulation, and that’s kind of what we’re going to see,” he said.
The FCC’s aggressiveness in preempting state and local policies is likely to rub salt in the still-tender wounds over the net neutrality debate.
In practical terms, Marticorena said both debates look like deregulation on a national scale, but in fact at the local and state level, the FCC’s rules are simply seen as a way to protect a few choice players that benefit from the deregulation.
“That’s what they did in net neutrality. They said, ‘We need to deregulate, but we need to regulate the states,’” Marticorena said.
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