National Cable & Telecommunications Assn., Inc. v. Gulf Power Co., 534 U.S. 327, 8 (2002)

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Opinion of the Court

rates they choose. To make this argument, respondents rely on a statutory definition of "cable system" (which the FCC treats as synonymous with "cable television system," see 47 CFR 76.5(a) (2000)). The definition begins as follows: "[T]he term 'cable system' means a facility, consisting of a set of closed transmission paths and associated signal generation, reception, and control equipment that is designed to provide cable service which includes video programming and which is provided to multiple subscribers within a community." 47 U. S. C. 522(7) (1994 ed., Supp. V). The first part of the definition would appear to cover commingled services, but the definition goes on to exclude "a facility of a common carrier . . . except that such facility shall be considered a cable system . . . to the extent such facility is used in the transmission of video programming directly to subscribers, unless the extent of such use is solely to provide interactive on-demand services." Ibid.

Respondents assert that "most major cable companies are now common carriers [since they also provide] residential and/or commercial telephone service." Brief for Respondents American Electric Power Service Corp. et al. 20. If so, they contend, then for purposes of 224(a)(4), a facility that provides commingled cable television and Internet service is a "cable television system" only "to the extent that" it provides cable television.

Even if a cable company is a common carrier because it provides telephone service, of course, the attachment might still fall under the second half of the "pole attachments" definition: "any attachment by a . . . provider of telecommunications service." 224(a)(4). This argument, and the related assertion that "most major cable companies are now common carriers," need not be considered by us in the first instance, when neither the FCC nor the Court of Appeals has had the opportunity to pass upon the points. There is a factual premise here, as well as an application of the statute to the facts, that the FCC and the Court of Appeals ought

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