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NCTA Vows to Appeal Broadband-Access Ruling

The cable industry is lashing out at a court decision Monday that would force cable companies to open their high-speed Internet platforms to competing Web-service providers.

The National Cable & Telecommunications Association said it will appeal the decision by the Federal Appeals Court in San Francisco, which tossed out a 2002 Federal Communications Commission declaration that the agency had the right, but not the obligation, to impose that type of access requirement.

The same court ruled in 2000 that cable-modem service was bound by the same strict access obligations as telephone companies’ digital subscriber lines.

Monday’s decision is "a strained reading" of the earlier ruling and is "legally erroneous," NCTA head of law and regulatory policy Daniel Brenner said. He added that the court should have deferred to FCC judgment because judges must acquiesce to agency interpretations when statutes are ambiguous.

The FCC said late Monday that it would also appeal.