Court rules for AT & T in dispute with Internet firm

Wed, 02/25/2009 - 7:05am
The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Supreme Court on Wednesday unanimously ruled for AT&T in the company's antitrust dispute with an Internet service provider over prices for high-speed Internet access.

The court reversed a decision by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The San Francisco-based appeals court had ruled the telecom company was setting its wholesale prices so high that an Internet service provider could not compete with the low prices AT&T charged in the retail market.

The plaintiff in the lawsuit, Linkline Communications Inc., buys access to AT&T's transmission lines. Linkline then competes with AT&T in selling high-speed Internet access.

"Under these circumstances, AT&T was not required to offer this service at the wholesale prices the plaintiff would have preferred," Chief Justice John Roberts wrote.

Roberts was joined in his opinion by Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, Anthony M. Kennedy and Samuel A. Alito. Justices Stephen G. Breyer, Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, John Paul Stevens and David H. Souter concurred only with the judgment.

The ruling does not end the case. The justices sent the case back to a trial judge, who can decide whether AT&T was charging too little for its product in hopes of running its competitors out of business.

More Broadband Direct 02/25/09:
•  Copps vows a more open FCC
•  Cable companies want a way to win with online TV
•  Mediacom sees record RGU growth, posts loss in Q4
•  Report: Dish, DirecTV would carry local services for right incentives
•  Virgin Media ups broadband speeds
•  OpenTV posts first profitable year in '08
•  RGB Networks delivers advanced subtitling capabilities
•  Nortel Networks to cut 3,200 more jobs
•  Court rules for AT&T in dispute with Internet firm
•  Broadband Briefs for 02/25/09



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