WaPo reports,

Cable companies would be required to open their networks to rival high-speed Internet service providers under a federal appeals court ruling yesterday that could lead to more choices for consumers and subject the industry to the same competitive pressures roiling the telephone market.

The ruling by the San Francisco-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit bars the Federal Communications Commission from following through with plans to allow cable companies to exclude rivals from selling competing brands of Internet service over their lines.

The FCC adopted its deregulatory approach last year, betting that it would give the cable industry an incentive to continue investing in sophisticated fiber-optic networks. But the court said the agency must continue to classify cable’s Internet offerings as a telecommunications service, subjecting it to the same regulations governing high-speed Internet service provided by telephone companies.

Currently, the vast majority of the nation’s approximately 14 million homes that subscribe to cable high-speed Internet service have no choice when it comes to their service provider. If the ruling survives a likely appeal, the decision could provide broadband Internet users with new options for the content they see online, their e-mail addresses and potentially the monthly rates they pay.

This should be very good news, helping to bring down outrageously high prices for broadband access.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Paul says:

    This should be very good news, helping to bring down outrageously high prices for broadband access.


    I’ll skip the long debate/explanation here but as an owner of an ISP I can tell you that broadband access is not outrageously over priced. (today)

    More competition will undoubtedly lower prices but not as dramatically as you might think.

    Without a long discussion, suffice it to say that most broadband accounts are asymmetrical. But when you buy bandwidth as a business, it is not. While a 1.5mb/s line FROM the net is 50 bucks a month, that same speed TO THE NET (upload) is 500-600 bucks.

    This has the effect of shifting the cost of the internet to the businesses and not the average person. (Not unlike taxes)