Powell takes on the Ninth

Powell goes to the Supreme Court to settle score with Ninth Circuit over broadband.

Tech Culture

FCC Commissioner Michael Powell last week won an important procedural victory when he and the acting United States solicitor general asked the Supreme Court to reverse a landmark decision by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals over broadband legislation.

The Ninth Court in April rejected the FCC's attempt to reverse the court's decision that cable broadband services could be forced to open their lines to third parties. More specifically, the court said cable companies have elements of telecommunications and information services in their technology. Current rules require telecommunications services to open their lines to third parties. Up to now, cable has been classified as an information service, leaving it immune to open access rules.

That means the nation's highest court may decide whether cable companies' broadband services will be regulated like their Baby Bell arch-nemeses.

U.S. broadband policies remain a Rubik's Cube without a solution. Cable and the Bells continue their crying match about who's got it worse in terms of regulations. Luckily for them, these two industries own the majority of all Internet users in the U.S..

Check out John's piece in our broadband special report for a more detailed look.

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