Pole Case May Go to Supremes

New York-The cable industry may need to seek relief from the U.S. Supreme Court to block a large pole-attachment fee increase from taking effect.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11thCircuit is considering a stay filed by the Federal Communications Commission and the National Cable Television Association in connection with a ruling which said that cable operators who offer Internet access are not protected by FCC rules that constrain pole-attachment rates.

If the 11thCircuit declines to issue the stay, the FCC does not intend to ask the Supreme Court to issue an emergency stay, a commission source said.

The source added that the NCTA was planning on going to the Supreme Court if the 11thCircuit allows unregulated pole rates to take effect.

NCTA spokesman David Beckwith said it's too soon to predict the association's next move, because the cable industry expected to obtain a stay from the 11thCircuit.

In April, a panel of the 11thCircuit issued the pole decision.