Friday, November 1, 2013

National Cable & Telecommunications Assn. v. Brand X Internet Services case brief

National Cable & Telecommunications Assn. v. Brand X Internet Services case brief summary
545 U.S. 967 (2005)

On writs of certiorari to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in consolidated cases, various petitioners sought revue of a declaratory ruling of the Federal Communication Commission (FCC).

The FCC's ruling under the Telecommunications Act of 1996 classified broadband cable modem service as an "information service" because Internet access was a capability for manipulating and storing information, but not a "telecommunications service," due to the integrated nature of such access and the high-speed wire used to provide it. Thus, broadband cable modem service was not subject to mandatory Title II of the Communications Act of 1934, 48 Stat. 1064, as amended, 47 U.S.C.S. § 151 et seq., common-carrier regulation.

  • Applying a Chevron analysis, the Court held this interpretation reasonable because consumers used the high-speed wire always in connection with the information-processing capabilities provided by Internet access, and the transmission was a necessary Internet access component. 
  • What cable companies providing cable modem service and telephone companies providing telephone service "offered" was Internet service and telephone service respectively -- the finished services, though they did so using the discrete components composing the end product, including data transmission. 
  • Such functionally integrated components did not need to be described as distinct "offerings."


The judgments of the Court of Appeals were reversed, and the cases were remanded for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

Recommended Supplements for Administrative Law Examples & Explanations: Administrative Law, Fourth Edition
Administrative Law and Process: In a Nutshell (Nutshell Series)

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