Hindery's YES Seeks Cable-Data Regs

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Leo J. Hindery Jr.'s Yankees Entertainment & Sports Network has joined a
media and technology coalition seeking federal regulation of potential
cable-operator discrimination against unaffiliated Internet broadband-content
providers.

The coalition -- headed by Microsoft Corp. and The Walt Disney Co. -- is
asking the Federal Communications Commission to adopt a rule that would prevent
cable and other broadband-network owners from interfering with consumer access
to legal Web content and give them the right to attach any device to the data
network that does not cause it harm.

In a Jan. 8 letter to the FCC, the coalition (formally know as the Coalition
of Broadband Users and Innovators) announced the additions of YES, Intertainer
Inc. and Qualcomm Inc.

YES CEO Hindery is the former president of AT&T Broadband, once the
largest cable company in the United States. His programming network has filed an
antitrust suit against Cablevision Systems Corp. for refusing to carry YES, home
of Major League Baseball's New York Yankees, on a tier that all subscribers must
purchase.

The CBUI letter also complained that despite assurances that cable operators
currently allow data subscribers to roam the Internet freely, the National Cable
& Telecommunications Association and cable MSOs "conspicuously refuse to
assure the public, [the FCC] and other interested parties" that the industry
will continue its noninterference policy in the future.

Although the coalition is not urging the FCC to require cable to carry
multiple Internet-service providers, the NCTA in the past has said that the
coalition's proposals were addressing a problem that did not exist and
regulation of cable's broadband-access service would inevitably "entangle
operators in regulatory disputes" that competitors might trigger for competitive
purposes.

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