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FCC v. Brand X Internet Services

Court Type: U.S. Supreme Court
Status: Closed (Judgment)
Last Update: March 29, 2005

What's at Stake

Reviewing whether cable broadband services should be allowed to limit access to a single Internet Service Provider (ISP). DECIDED

Summary

The issue in this case is whether cable broadband services should be classified as content providers or telecommunications services by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Behind this seemingly technical dispute is an important free speech issue. If designated as content providers, cable broadband systems can limit Internet access to the ISPs of their choice. If designated as telecommunications services, cable broadband services must be equally available to competing ISPs. The ACLU amicus brief supports the latter approach, arguing that the pipeline to the Internet should be distinguished from the information that travels across that pipeline, and that increasing consumer choice on the Internet promotes a more diverse marketplace of ideas.

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