Cable Broadband, Telecom or Not?

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Looks like we are headed back to the courts soon where once again there will be deliberations about cable broadband’s classification – whether it is telecom or an information service. If its decided that it is telecom, then it means more regulation and more taxes. If it deemed information service, well then its business as usual. “Classifying cable modem service as a telecommunications service would drastically change the regulatory environment for cable modem service,” the U.S. government said in its brief by acting U.S. Solicitor General Paul Clement. According to Reuters, “If the appeals court decision stood, cable companies would be forced to follow pricing regulations, contribute to the universal service fund that subsidizes telephone service and face other obligations, the brief said.” The US Supreme Court will hear the appeals in March, decision will come in June.

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Aswath Rao

The rationale for telecom regulation is not because it provides voice service, but that access to COMMUNICATIONS NETWORK is deemed critical. That is how I justify that the same regulations apply to fax or modem lines. According to this logic then those rules concerning to communications network must be applied to other access schemes as well, even if the primary use happens to be “information services”.

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