Supreme Court Decides on Broadband

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Supreme Court Decides on Broadband

Important news on the US Supreme Court and their decision on broadband services. As the release says, this ruling could have an extremely negative effect on the business of providing VoIP services and service providers in general. Hopefully at least one of the justices is a Vonage user. If not, surely Skype ;-)



Arlington, Va. -- The Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) today filed an amicus curiae, or "friend of the court," brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in FCC v. Brand X.  In its brief, TIA supports a reversal of the Ninth Circuit Court's ruling that cable modem service is a telecommunications service because the effect of such a classification could hinder the growth of a wide variety of broadband-related products and services. 

"TIA has consistently voiced the opinion that improper regulatory treatment could discourage competitive investment in the broadband infrastructure necessary for the deployment of innovative services.  The Ninth Circuit's decision, if affirmed, would undermine the FCC's efforts to achieve ubiquitous deployment and reduce consumer choice," stated TIA President Matthew J. Flanigan. 

The Supreme Court may rule on any number of issues presented here, including whether the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) correctly concluded that cable modem service is an information service because it is offered to customers as a single integrated service that combines a number of information service functions. 

TIA's position, aligned with the FCC, is derived from its members' interests in promoting and advancing the rapid deployment of innovative products and services and the investment in infrastructure to ensure the delivery of such services.  TIA's brief set forth the 25-year-old body of regulatory law promulgated by the FCC, which establishes its consistent finding that cable modem service clearly falls within the statutory definition of an information service under The Communications Act.

TIA's brief also emphasizes that if the Ninth Circuit's decision stands, a multitude of products and services potentially will be subject to Title II regulation.  Such an imposition concerns a broad variety of information service providers that have never been deemed providers of telecommunications but would be exposed to regulation because the telecommunications component of their information services would be re-characterized as an offering of telecommunications.  The Supreme Court's decision likely would have implications on the deployment of broadband across all platforms and could help shape the future for VoIP and other IP-enabled services.


The Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) is the leading trade organization serving the communications and IT industry, with proven strengths in standards development, domestic and international public policy, and trade shows. Through its worldwide activities, TIA facilitates business development opportunities and a competitive market environment. The association provides a forum for its member companies, the manufacturers and suppliers of products and services used in global communications. TIA represents the communications sector of the Electronic Industries Alliance (EIA). Visit us at

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