By AB  |  Communications Daily  |  Monday, September 17, 2018

Net Neutrality Supporter Wins NY AG Primary; Gov. Cuomo Defeats Challenger

The Democratic nominee for New York attorney general supports net neutrality and applauded recent Public Service Commission penalties against Charter Communications. New York City Public Advocate Letitia James won the Democratic nomination Thursday against three rivals including a Verizon lobbyist, Leecia Eve. Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), who supported action against Charter and earlier this year signed an executive order restricting state agencies from signing contracts with ISPs that don’t follow net neutrality principles, won his primary against actress Cynthia Nixon. If elected in November, James could take the reins of state attorneys general’s lawsuit against the FCC’s December net neutrality order. AG Barbara Underwood (D) has led states’ suit since Eric Schneiderman resigned as attorney gener-al after facing sexual assault allegations he denied. James’ victory is a “good thing” for AG oversight of telecom companies, privacy and net neutrality, said Public Utility Law Project Executive Director Richard Berkley in an interview. James, expected to win in November, probably will continue and may intensify current state lawsuits against Charter and the FCC, Berkley said. James intervened in recent telecom merger cases at the PSC, advocating strongly for what she called net neutrality’s importance to democracy, and she “changed the public advocate’s office from being the people’s advocate to being the people’s lawyer,” the consumer advocate said. Telecom probably isn’t at the top of James’ to-do list, “but I expect she will be very pro-net neutrality, pro-labor and pro-universal broadband,” emailed Phillips Lytle telecom attorney David Bronston. “Given that she ran with the Governor’s endorsement, I expect she will be receptive to working on any Charter/Spectrum case that the NYS PSC feels is warranted.” —AB