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Maine Drops Fight for Cable A La Carte Law

Watching TV
(Image credit: Comcast)

PORTLAND, Maine—Cable subscribers in Maine won’t be able to handpick what channels they pay for, as the Maine Attorney General’s Office has dropped its defense of a 2019 law that would require cable TV providers to offer channels a la carte, as the Portland Press Herald first reported.

Shortly after the law was passed in Maine in 2019, cable companies filed a lawsuit against the state. Cable companies argued that the law violated their First Amendment rights of “editorial discretion” as programmers and cable operators.

In December 2019, a U.S. District Court judge issued an injunction against the law, preventing it from taking effect. This past February, a federal appeals court in Boston upheld the injunction.

After the February decision, the state of Maine and the cable operators filed a joint motion agreeing to resolve the lawsuit in favor of the cable companies. The motion was approved by the U.S. District Court, officially closing the case. The law can never be enforced or put into effect, the Press Herald reports.

No official word was given as to why Maine decided to concede its case.

“Maine has recognized that their programming law, which would have harmed consumers and independent and diverse programmers, is unconstitutional after court rulings that affirmed the First Amendment prevents states from declining how video content is sold to consumers,” a Comcast spokesperson said in an email. “The video marketplace is dynamic and consumers have more choices than ever before to view and buy programming. We’ll continue to offer our customers a wide variety of diverse channels, programs and packages and to compete with others in this vibrant market.”

State Rep. Jeffrey Evangelos told the Portland Press Herald that despite the bill, which he sponsored, failing, cable companies would eventually embrace an a la carte model as consumers move to streaming services.

The full story is available via the Portland Press Herald.