A Collaboration with University of Pittsburgh   

Supreme Court takes broadband access case

[JURIST] The US Supreme Court announced at midday Friday that it would hear appeals from the Federal Communications Commission and the cable industry on whether broadband services that offer computer users high-speed links to the Internet via cable are an "information service" subject to minimal regulation by federal or local authorities or whether, following lower court rulings, they constitute a telecommunications service, a finding that would require a cable operator to open its facilities to all Internet Service Providers, not just its own. The cases are FCC v. Brand X and National Cable & Telecommunications Association v. Brand X. The certiorari order is here [PDF]. The NCTA has issued a press release welcoming the order here, saying that

Establishing a deregulatory environment for cable modem service is critical to the universal deployment in the U.S. of broadband services, including emerging services such as Voice over Internet Protocol service. This case presents a fundamental question of communications law, carefully decided by the FCC and then overturned by a circuit court that simply ignored what the agency had done, refusing to accord the FCC the deference Supreme Court precedent requires. Classifying cable modem service as an interstate information service, as the FCC did, puts this innovative service on the right deregulatory path
FCC Chairman Michael Powell said in his own statement: "High-speed Internet connections are not telephones, and I’m glad the Supreme Court has agreed to review the 9th Circuit’s ruling that they are. The 9th Circuit's decision would have grave consequences for the future and availability of high-speed Internet connections in this country." AP has more.

Support JURIST

We rely on our readers to keep JURIST running

 Donate now!

About Paper Chase

Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

© Copyright JURIST Legal News and Research Services, Inc., 2013.