NCTA Challenges Microsoft Coalition


The National Cable & Telecommunications Association Tuesday challenged a coalition of media and computer firms advocating content-related behavioral restrictions on broadband Internet-access providers.

The coalition, which includes Microsoft Corp. and The Walt Disney Co., asserted last month that cable and phone companies are positioned to use their network ownership to harm unaffiliated content providers on the Web.

In a letter to the Federal Communications Commission, NCTA president Robert Sachs said cable operators allow consumers to roam the Internet without restriction, and efforts to impose an assortment of nondiscriminatory rules on cable would end up hurting broadband deployment.

"Cable companies offer their subscribers unrestricted access to Internet content and the ability to run applications of their choice because customers demand those capabilities, not because cable companies were ordered to do so by the government," Sachs said in a three-page letter.

Sachs, however, acknowledged that cable operators ensure that some consumers are not hogging bandwidth and degrading system performance for other users that stay within the terms of the service agreement.