Ninth Circuit Grants Cable-Modem Stay

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The cable industry, supported by the Federal Communications Commission and the Department of Justice, has won a stay from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in the case that could lead to open-access regulation of cable's high-speed-data service.

A National Cable & Telecommunications Association spokesman said the trade group received oral confirmation of the stay from the Ninth Circuit Friday afternoon.

With the stay, the NCTA can go forward with plans to appeal the ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court knowing that open-access rules are not an immediate threat. The trade group has until June 29 to file with the high court.

"We are pleased with the Ninth Circuit's decision to stay the mandate of its earlier decision. We will now turn our attention to developing our formal appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, and we look forward to having this case decided on its merits," NCTA senior vice president of law and regulatory policy Dan Brenner said.

The Ninth Circuit's order said the stay would remain in effect until "final disposition" by the Supreme Court of cable's pending appeal.

The DOJ and the FCC also filed a stay request.

It was unclear Friday whether the DOJ will support cable's appeal, mainly because the DOJ and the FCC have an ongoing dispute over the correct legal classification of broadband data. The DOJ believes the Ninth Circuit decision bolsters its ability to track criminals and terrorists who use the Internet to plot their crimes.