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FCC cable-modem ruling goes to court

Public advocacy groups and Internet-service provider EarthLink Inc. Monday asked the federal appeals
court in Washington, D.C., to strike down a Federal Communications Commission policy
allowing cable franchises to keep competing ISPs off their
broadband networks. Verizon Communications also asked the court to review the decision because
it wants the same favorable treatment as cable operators for its high-speed
digital subscriber lines. Unlike cable systems, regional phone monopolies face
an access mandate for DSL.

On March 14, the FCC declared that cable-modem service is an "information
service," which places nearly all oversight of the business in the hands of the
FCC and very little with local regulators. The decision does give the commission
authority to impose access obligations later if it sees fit, but the panel
decided to continue its hands-off policy.