NCTA wants hands off on cable net access

February 28, 2003

The NCTA wants the government to take a hands-off approach to cable Internet access. Last week it charged that a proposal being advocated by Amazon.com and others would be used to thwart legitimate business practices and arrangements that have nothing to do with blocking access to content.

NCTA head Robert Sachs charged that giant content providers "want to use the government to leverage negotiations with network providers and others to get better business deals."

The NCTA has challenged the Coalition of Broadband Users and Innovators—a group that includes Amazon.com, Walt Disney Co., Microsoft, and others—on a proposal that asks the government to create rules to ensure high-speed access to the Internet over cable modems.

The NCTA contends that under the proposal, every effort to enhance the value of Internet access beyond the provision of a common carrier transport service is subject to potential regulatory challenges as a restraint on unfettered access.

As a result, the NCTA said the ability of facilities-based providers of high-speed Internet to best meet the needs and demands of consumers — and to attract investment capital—would be restricted and impaired.

Critics of cable operators have countered that the cable companies want to restrict access to online movies and other high-capacity services that compete with cable-television programming or cable-affiliated Web sites.

For more information visit www.ncta.com.

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