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Broadband Fight Will Expand to Congress, FCC

The Supreme Court's ruling in the "Brand X" case that the cable industry doesn't have to let competing ISPs use its wires will shake up the telecommunications industry and move the "open-access" fight to the Congress and the Federal Communications Commission, with the phone companies seeking a similar exemption from line-sharing regulations, writes Wired. Congress is already in the midst of preparing an overhaul of the 1996 Telecommunications Act.

"If they're successful, I think that means that Brand X will stand as the trigger that reversed a century of communications policy and undermines the bedrock principle of democratic media, which is nondiscriminatory access for all," according to Ben Scott, policy director of public-interest group Free Press.

Consumer groups said the ruling will simply open a new front in Congress as it prepares to rewrite the 1996 Telecommunications Act. On Monday, Verizon Executive Vice-President Tom Tauke said the FCC and Congress should "act promptly to finish the job" by "giving telcos the same deregulatory treatment enjoyed by cable operators."

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