National Cable & Telecommunications Assn., Inc. v. Gulf Power Co., 534 U.S. 327, 5 (2002)

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

Opinion of the Court

terms, and conditions for pole attachments to provide that such rates, terms, and conditions are just and reasonable." 224(b). (The Act is set forth in full in the Appendix, infra.) The cases now before us present two questions regarding the scope of the Act. First, does the Act reach attachments that provide both cable television and high-speed (broadband) Internet service? Second, does it reach attachments by wireless telecommunications providers? Both questions require us to interpret what constitutes a "pole attachment" under the Act.

In the original Act a "pole attachment" was defined as "any attachment by a cable television system to a pole, duct, conduit, or right-of-way owned or controlled by a utility," 224(a)(4). The Telecommunications Act of 1996, 703, 110 Stat. 150, expanded the definition to include, as an additional regulated category, "any attachment by a . . . provider of telecommunications service." 224(a)(4) (1994 ed., Supp. V).

Cable companies had begun providing high-speed Internet service, as well as traditional cable television, over their wires even before 1996. The FCC had interpreted the Act to cover pole attachments for these commingled services, and its interpretation had been approved by the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Texas Util. Elec. Co. v. FCC, 997 F. 2d 925, 927, 929 (1993). Finding nothing in the 1996 amendments to change its view on this question, the FCC continued to assert jurisdiction over pole attachments for these particular commingled services. In re Implementation of Section 703(e) of the Telecommunications Act of 1996: Amendment of the Commission's Rules and Policies Governing Pole Attachments, 13 FCC Rcd. 6777 (1998). In the same order the FCC concluded further that the amended Act covers attachments by wireless telecommunications providers. "[T]he use of the word 'any'

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