Five industry associations representing major US cable and wireless operators filed suit against the state of Vermont, arguing it cannot bypass federal law by using state-level regulations to impose net neutrality rules on internet service providers.

Following the repeal of the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) net neutrality rules in December 2017, Vermont became one of several states that moved to block companies which don’t follow open internet principles from being awarded state service contracts. California, Hawaii, Montana, New York, New Jersey and Rhode Island have similar rules in place.

But in a court filing, the American Cable Association; wireless group CTIA; NCTA – The Internet and Television Association; USTelecom; and the New England Cable and Telecommunications Association claimed such laws are illegal because they violate the FCC’s repeal order and regulate services which extend beyond state lines.

“We oppose the actions in Vermont because states cannot use their spending and procurement authority to bypass federal laws they do not like. A 50-state patchwork approach threatens service for customers, hampers innovation and dampens investment in local communities,” the groups said in a joint statement.

The Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against California earlier this month citing similar arguments.

However, Vermont Governor Phil Scott defended the rules, noting “states must act” in the absence of a national standard to protect citizens’ access to a free and open internet.