National Cable & Telecommunications Assn., Inc. v. Gulf Power Co., 534 U.S. 327, 13 (2002)

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

Opinion of the Court

tive formula for commingled cable service. The latter might be expected to evolve in directions Congress knew it could not anticipate. As it was in Chevron U. S. A. Inc. v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc., 467 U. S. 837 (1984), the subject matter here is technical, complex, and dynamic; and as a general rule, agencies have authority to fill gaps where the statutes are silent, id., at 843-844. It might have been thought prudent to provide set formulas for telecommunications service and "solely cable service," and to leave unmodified the FCC's customary discretion in calculating a "just and reasonable" rate for commingled services.

This result is more sensible than the one for which respondents contend. On their view, if a cable company attempts to innovate at all and provide anything other than pure television, it loses the protection of the Pole Attachments Act and subjects itself to monopoly pricing. The resulting contradiction of longstanding interpretation—on which cable companies have relied since before the 1996 amendments to the Act—would defeat Congress' general instruction to the FCC to "encourage the deployment" of broadband Internet capability and, if necessary, "to accelerate deployment of such capability by removing barriers to infrastructure investment." Pub. L. 104-104, Tit. VII, 706(a), (b), and (c)(1), 110 Stat. 153, note following 47 U. S. C. 157 (1994 ed., Supp. V). This congressional policy underscores the reasonableness of the FCC's interpretation: Cable attachments providing commingled services come within the ambit of the Act.


The second question presented is whether and to what extent the equipment of wireless telecommunications providers is susceptible of FCC regulation under the Act. The Eleventh Circuit held that "the act does not provide the FCC with authority to regulate wireless carriers." 208 F. 3d, at 1275. All parties now agree this holding was overstated.


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