Cable Clicks Back at Amazon.com

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Amazon.com Inc.'s (www.amazon.com) effort
to impose regulation on cable-modem service would stifle innovation in the
high-speed-data market, as well as fall outside the rule-making authority of the
Federal Communications Commission, the National Cable & Telecommunications
Association told the regulatory body in a Feb. 21 letter.

Amazon.com, the giant online retailer of books and music CDs, has proposed
regulations designed to bar cable operators from using network control to steer
consumers away from Amazon.com and toward content providers with financial ties
with MSOs.

The Walt Disney Co. and Microsoft Corp. are backing Amazon.com's lobbying
campaign.

In a seven-page filing, the NCTA said Amazon.com is seeking the adoption of
regulations to cure problems that don't exist, and if the regulations were
actually adopted, cable operators would face constant harassment from all manner
of Web sites beefing about the loss of "unfettered access" to cable-modem
subscribers.

"Under the proposal, every effort to enhance the value of Internet access
beyond the provision of a common-carrier transport service is subject to
potential regulatory challenge as a restraint on `unfettered access,'" NCTA
senior vice president of law and regulatory policy Daniel Brenner said.

Facing "a spiral of regulatory disputes and mischief" would distract cable
operators from their mission of deploying high-speed data to consumers, he
added.

The NCTA devoted much of the letter to rebutting Amazon.com's claim that
federal law invests the FCC with authority to restrict content arrangements
between Internet Web sites and cable-based Internet-access providers.

The trade group argued that the FCC possessed neither general nor specific
authority to adopt rules supported by Amazon.com.

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