The largest U.S. home access cable provider, [email protected] Tuesday filed an amicus brief urging the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to overturn the a recent decision.
In May, the federal district court ruled that the city government of
Portland, Ore., has the authority to force its cable TV company to open
access to independent Internet services providers. AT&T-owned Tele-Communications Inc., is appealing the decision.
As a friend of the court, the [email protected] brief warns that should the
Portland ordinance be upheld it would draw local governments into
complicated and costly regulation of Internet services.
David Pine, [email protected] general counsel, noted that the Federal
Communications Commission has filed a similar brief with the court and that
the federal agency knows best how to serve the public interest.
“After looking at this issue carefully, the FCC, the government agency with
the greatest expertise in telecommunications, concluded that a hands-off
policy would best serve consumers,” Pine said. “The FCC’s brief clearly
lays out the wisdom of that judgment and the need for a national policy of
‘unregulation’ of the Internet.”
[email protected] accused open access proponents of being access scavengers
unwilling to make the kind of investment that [email protected] and its cable partners have made. AT&T remains the controlling shareholder in [email protected]
The brief states “Forcing cable companies to provide access is thus
tantamount to permitting third parties to free ride on the substantial
investment of [email protected] and its cable partners.”
Open access proponents expect that the [email protected] brief will have little bearing on the case, since it doesn’t address the legal issues of local jurisdiction that is before the court.