The National Cable & Telecommunications Association has thrown its backing behind Cablevision Systems’ Supreme Court challenge to must-carry rules.

Cablevision filed its challenge in January, arguing that the level of competition in the industry is sufficient to justify lifting must-carry rules, which compel MSOs to carry local channels on their systems. Cablevision continues to argue that must-carry also infringes on cable companies’ free speech rights.

The issue at the moment is convincing the Supreme Court to take the case.

The NCTA just filed a friend of the court brief supporting Cablevision’s arguments, echoing Cablevision’s request for certiorari (certiorari is basically the Supreme Court’s right to examine the ruling of a lower court).

In its brief, the NCTA notes that “DirecTV and EchoStar are now the second- and third-largest providers of multichannel video programming, and the FiOS and U-verse offerings of telephone companies such as Verizon and AT&T are growing fast.”

This perhaps provides a clue as to why the NCTA decided to shuffle its list of top video providers last month.

More Broadband Direct 3/01/10:
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•  Comcast's Project Cavalry rides through Pa. 
•  Charter gives broadband subs a boost
•  Cox launches Caller ID on TV in Baton Rouge
•  NCTA chimes in on Cablevision must-carry challenge
•  Dish Network's Q4 profit falls; op gains subs
•  Cablevision launches Optimum Business Benefits program
•  Arris unbundles Moxi 3-tuner model 
•  Verecloud aims to enrich SMB services
•  Oregon is 6th state to OK Frontier, Verizon deal
•  Topeka aims to become Google Internet test site
•  Verizon sued over $1.99 data charges
•  New Sprint campaign touts value 
•  Survey: 26% of Americans get news via phone