Supreme Court to Discuss Modem Case

The Supreme Court will meet behind closed doors Dec. 3 to decide whether to take the case that could expose cable-modem service to open-access requirements, the court announced Friday.

The court is scheduled to announce a decision Dec. 6. It requires the votes of four of nine justices to docket a case for oral argument. The court receives thousands of appeals, but it takes only 80-100 cases per year.

The Department of Justice, with backing from the cable industry, wants the court to strike down a ruling that classified cable-modem service as partly a telecommunications service. Unless federal regulators forbear, cable-modem providers would likely need to provide nondiscriminatory access to competing Internet-service providers.

If the high court declines the case, the ruling of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit would stand, likely triggering a debate at the Federal Communications Commission on the need to launch a forbearance proceeding.