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 Mar 29, 2005 - 04:00 PM - by Michael
* Incoming: Cable modem not from the Cable Company?

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PC Games/Hardware/Microsoft
Ars Technica has word on an upcoming Supreme Court case: Brand X cable modem services demanding access to Time Warner, etc's networks.

It all started with the Telecommunications Act of 1996, which, among its many provisions, required telecommunication providers (telcos) to lease DSL lines to competing ISPs. The idea was to create competition for broadband pricing, but the phone companies balked at building networks for others to use and were slow to upgrade. At that time the cable companies were still almost exclusively providers of television and were just beginning the expensive infrastructure upgrades necessary for broadband offerings.

Fast forward five years and the cable companies are acquiring broadband customers faster than the telcos. This had the positive effect of prompting the telcos to compete for broadband customers with the cable companies. It also had independent ISPs demanding line-sharing on cable systems similiar to that originally required of the phone companies for DSL. The cable companies adopted the exact same attitude regarding network upgrades that worked so well for the phone companies, with one extremely important difference. They appealed to the Federal Communications Commission, whose ruling resulted in the currently litigated and tortuous definition of "services" in 2002:
Yeah, it's gotten crazy.

Here's hoping Brand X wins; some competition could definitely bring lower prices for cable modem services.

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