Brand X Reversed

Date: Jun 27, 2005

The U.S. Supreme Court this morning overruled the Ninth Circuit's Brand X decision, deferring to the FCC's determination that cable modem service is merely an information service, not one that contains both information and telecommunications components.

Today's ruling impacts electric utilities in several important respects. First, since Broadband over Power Line ("BPL") service in many ways resembles cable modem service, today's ruling implies that BPL providers will not be burdened with onerous Title II telecommunications regulations (access rules, reporting requirements, federal contributions, etc.).

In addition, today's ruling prohibits utilities from charging higher telecom pole attachment rates for cable modem attachments. Instead, when offered along with cable video services, cable modem attachments continue to be subject only to the lower rate for cable pole attachments.

Please contact Tom Magee at 202-434-4128 or magee@khlaw.com if you have any questions regarding this landmark decision.