NATIONAL CABLE AND TELECOMM. ASSN v. BRAND X INTERNET SERVICES

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Case Basics
Docket No. 
04-277
Petitioner 
National Cable & Telecommunications Association, et al.
Respondent 
Brand X Internet Services, et al.
Consolidation 
Federal Communications Commission and United States v. Brand X Internet Services et al., No. 04-281
Advocates
(argued the cause for Petitioners in 04-277)
(argued the cause for Petitioners in 04-281)
(argued the cause for Respondents)
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Facts of the Case 

Title II of the Communications Act of 1934, which was amended in 1996, subjected providers of "telecommunications service" to mandatory common- carrier regulation. The FCC concluded that this did not include broadband cable companies. The Ninth Circuit reversed and cited its own previous opinion that had held that cable modem service was a "telecommunications service."

Question 

Did the FCC lawfully interpret the Communications Act of 1934 by deciding that broadband cable companies did not provide a "telecommunications service?"

Conclusion 
Decision: 6 votes for National Cable and Telecomm. Assn, 3 vote(s) against
Legal provision: Communication Act of 1934

Yes. In a 6-3 opinion delivered by Justice Clarence Thomas, the Court held that the FCC lawfully construed the Communications Act to not define cable broadband providers as "telecommunications services." The Court held that the Ninth Circuit should have followed the Supreme Court's 1984 decision in Chevron v. Natural Resources Defense Council. That decision required federal courts to defer to an agency's construction of a statute, if that statute was within the agency's jurisdiction to administer and the agency's interpretation was reasonable, even if it differed from the court's own interpretation. In this case, the Court held that the FCC's construction was reasonable.

Cite this Page
NATIONAL CABLE AND TELECOMM. ASSN v. BRAND X INTERNET SERVICES. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 17 October 2014. <http://www.oyez.org/cases/2000-2009/2004/2004_04_277>.
NATIONAL CABLE AND TELECOMM. ASSN v. BRAND X INTERNET SERVICES, The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, http://www.oyez.org/cases/2000-2009/2004/2004_04_277 (last visited October 17, 2014).
"NATIONAL CABLE AND TELECOMM. ASSN v. BRAND X INTERNET SERVICES," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed October 17, 2014, http://www.oyez.org/cases/2000-2009/2004/2004_04_277.