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Federal Communications Commission
445 12th Street, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20554
News media information 202 / 418-0500
Fax-On-Demand 202 / 418-2830
Internet: http://www.fcc.gov
TTY: 202/418-2555

This is an unofficial announcement of Commission action. Release of the full text of a Commission order constitutes official action. See MCI v. FCC. 515 F 2d 385 (D.C. Circ 1974).

June 30, 2000
Michelle Russo at (202) 418-2358


Kennard Says Time is Right to Establish Record on Marketplace Developments

Washington, DC – The Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), William E. Kennard, announced today that he will propose that the FCC begin a formal proceeding on the issue of multiple Internet service providers gaining access to a cable company’s platform.

At a press briefing today, Chairman Kennard said that last week’s decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in the AT&T v. City of Portland case confirmed the FCC’s role in establishing a national broadband policy for the country. He also said that the court clearly recognized the FCC’s authority to forbear from regulation in this area.

The FCC filed an amicus brief in the case that outlined the need for a national policy and also informed the court that the FCC has not determined whether high-speed Internet access over the cable plant is a “telecommunications” service. The Ninth Circuit Court determined that this type of service is both a “telecommunications” service and an “information” service. Kennard said that the categorization of “telecommunications” service does not necessarily mean that the service is subject to all of the common carrier regulations that apply to telephone companies. The purpose of the new proceeding will be to resolve these issues and bring certainty to the marketplace.

Kennard said, “I have asked the FCC staff to develop a framework for addressing these issues. I continue to believe that there are powerful marketplace incentives that will move the cable platform to an open platform. Now is an appropriate time for the FCC to address the legal issues and to assess developments in the marketplace.”

Chairman Kennard also said, “I agree with the municipalities in the goal of an open cable platform. The question is how do we get there, through government intervention or market forces? My preference is market forces, but if the market doesn’t work then we’ll have to step in.” -FCC- For more information and news about the FCC, please visit the web site at www.fcc.gov