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NCTA seeks Supreme Court review of cable modem decision

Tue, 04/06/2004 - 8:00pm
Jeff Baumgartner

The National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) and some top U.S. MSOs announced their intentions to ask the Supreme Court to review a key decision on how cable modem services should be classified.

On March 31, the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco rejected the Federal Communications Commission 's position that cable modem service should be classified as an information service rather than a telecommunications service, and, therefore, be shielded from rules that require telecommunications companies to lease lines to competing ISPs at rates regulated by the government.

The NCTA has urged the Ninth Circuit to stay its decision on the "Brand X" case until the Supreme Court decides if it will hear the appeal. Without a stay, the decision would go into effect today (April 7), NCTA noted.

"A stay is appropriate," the cable lobbying group added, "because the cable interveners intend to file a petition for a writ of certiorari that will present a substantial question and because there is good cause for a stay."

On that point, NCTA said the decision is of prime importance to a key national communication policy: broadband Internet service.

Following word of the Ninth Circuit's decision late last month, the cable industry's primary lobbying group argued last week that imposing a telecommunications service label on cable modem services would "deter new investment and impose unnecessary costs on broadband services."

NCTA estimates that U.S. cable operators have spent $85 billion upgrading their networks for broadband services.

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