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Supreme Court to decide cable Internet access dispute

The U.S. Supreme Court will decide what regulations should apply to high-speed broadband Internet service offered by cable television companies like Time Warner.

The FCC determined in 2002 that broadband via cable companies was an information service and therefore insulated from most regulations that apply to traditional telephone services.

However, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit overturned that decision, relying on its previous ruling that broadband via cable companies had a telecommunications component and should be subject to stricter regulations.

The high court will likely hear arguments in March, with a decision due by the end of June.

About 28 million Americans subscribe to the service, but the United States lags about a dozen countries in deployment. President Bush said that he would push for universal access to broadband by 2007.

The FCC argued that the appeals court incorrectly overrode the agency and its expertise to oversee and regulate the telecommunications and media industry.

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