Clashing court cases like the Henrico County, Va. case (CEDaily 9/28/00) may have something to do with the FCC's newest inquiry. The commission announced it would look into the possibility of requiring cable operators to provide access to competing ISPs.
In Virginia, Henrico County is defending its cable open access ordinance, which requires cable companies to open their high-speed networks to multiple ISPs, like the telcos do. That thorny case is also surrounded by the question of whether cable modem service is really a cable service or a telecom service.
The FCC denied that its inquiry had anything to do with other prickly issues, such as the drawn- out approval process of the AOL-Time Warner merger. Prepared statements from FCC chair William Kennard said he simply wanted the industry to resolve cable-access issues, but felt that some intervention on the part of the FCC may be necessary.