National Cable & Telecommunications Assn., Inc. v. Gulf Power Co., 534 U.S. 327, 3 (2002)

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Cite as: 534 U. S. 327 (2002)


sections do not limit which pole attachments are covered and thus do not limit 224(a)(4) or 224(b). Even if they did, respondents would have to contend with the fact that 224(d)(2)'s rate formula is based upon the poles' space usable for attachment of "wires, cable, and associated equipment." If, as respondents concede, the Act covers wireline attachments by wireless providers, then it must also cover their attachments of associated equipment. The FCC was not unreasonable in declining to draw a distinction between wire-based and wireless associated equipment, which finds no support in the Act's text and appears quite difficult to draw. And if the text were ambiguous, this Court would defer to the FCC's judgment on this technical question. Pp. 341-342.

3. Because the attachments at issue fall within the Act's heartland, there is no need either to enunciate or to disclaim a specific limiting principle based on the possibility that a literal interpretation of "any attachment" would lead to the absurd result that the Act would cover attachments such as, e. g., clotheslines. Attachments of other sorts may be examined by the agency in the first instance. P. 342.

208 F. 3d 1263, reversed and remanded.

Kennedy, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Rehnquist, C. J., and Stevens, Scalia, Ginsburg, and Breyer, JJ., joined, and in which Souter and Thomas, JJ., joined as to Parts I and III. Thomas, J., filed an opinion concurring in part and dissenting in part, in which Souter, J., joined, post, p. 347. O'Connor, J., took no part in the consideration or decision of the cases.

James A. Feldman argued the cause for petitioners in No. 00-843. With him on the brief were Solicitor General Olson, Acting Solicitor General Underwood, Acting Assistant Attorney General Nannes, Deputy Solicitor General Wallace, Robert B. Nicholson, Robert J. Wiggers, and Jane E. Mago. Peter D. Keisler argued the cause for petitioner in No. 00-832. With him on the briefs were Paul J. Zidlicky, Daniel L. Brenner, Neal M. Goldberg, David L. Nicoll, Paul Glist, John D. Seiver, and Geoffrey C. Cook. Anthony C. Epstein and William Single IV filed a brief for Worldcom, Inc., respondent under this Court's Rule 12.6, in support of petitioners in both cases.

Thomas P. Steindler argued the cause for respondents in both cases. With him on the brief for respondents American


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