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Courts rule for consumers

Two court decisions reported today demonstrate a bias toward consumer choice.

First, the Associated Press reported that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia refused to overturn an FCC regulation that allows consumers to switch home and cell phone numbers.

And cNet reported that FCC is appealing an October ruling from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that found that the FCC incorrectly classified cable broadband as “information services.” The Court ruled in October that cable broadband should be considered a “telecommunications service.”

The distinction is important for consumer and business. Telecommunication services, like phone lines, must share the infrastructure (the line) with third parties. Cable firms have not been subjected to the same competition. Government officials and the cable industry have characterized the FCC action as a reluctance to regulate the industry — implying that cable exists in a state of unfettered competition. In fact, “regulation” is the only way that consumers will achieve choice in monopolistic markets.

Links: cNet (4 Dec); Seattle PI (AP – 4 Dec); CNet (6 Oct)

By Kathy E. Gill

Digital evangelist, speaker, writer, educator. Transplanted Southerner; teach newbies to ride motorcycles! @kegill

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