Brand X Decision
Supreme Court OKs FCC’s classification of broadband
In June 2005, the Supreme Court decided a case, National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) v. Brand X, which questioned whether the FCC had lawfully interpreted the Communications Act by deciding that cable broadband providers did not provide a telecommunications service.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit had determined that cable modem service was a telecommunications service, but the Supreme 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 the Brand X case, the Supreme Court held that the FCC's construction was reasonable.