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Texas Cable Suit Dismissed

A federal judge in Texas Thursday tossed out the cable industry's suit aimed at overturning the state’s cable-franchising law that went into effect last September.

U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel dismissed the case by the Texas Cable & Telecommunications Association, holding that it was too early to determine whether the economic impact of the law could support the TCTA’s claims of unconstitutionality.

"Until TCTA can establish the [law's] harmful impact on its incumbent cable providers, TCTA's claims are not ripe for the court's consideration," Yeakel said in an eight-page opinion.

The TCTA alleged that the law, because it treated incumbents differently from new entrants seeking franchises, violated federal cable law and several provisions of the federal constitution.

“We believe it is ironic that telephone companies urged dismissal on this basis,” TCTA spokeswoman Kirsten Voinis said in a prepared statement. “More than a year ago, telephone monopolies said it was urgent that SB 5 be passed so they could more easily compete for Texans’ video business. We have yet to see a significant venture into the market by telephone companies.”

She continued, “Even though telephone companies to date have not overcome their technology and capital-funding challenges and have not rolled out their video offerings to all Texans, TCTA's members are unquestionably harmed in each instance where they compete on uneven terms. TCTA will evaluate our options as we move forward, in light of the court’s ruling.”