The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) released a report regarding high speed cable modem service providers in the U.S. (ACLU Report). The report argues that unless the government legislates open access to cable Internet access facilities, "it is very possible that the existence of the Internet as a free and neutral civic space could come to an end." The report states that althoughmost users access the Internet today via phone modems, most users will in the near future use cable modems to access the Internet and as such, cable companies will have a monopoly over access to the Internet. The report goes on to conclude that the cable companies will utilize this monopoly power to control content on the Internet, which in turn would lead to restrictions on freedom of speech. Relying on a more comprehensive report titled "Technological Analysis of Open Access and Cable Television Systems", which was commissioned by the ACLU and written by the Columbia Telecommunications Corporation (CTC Report), the ACLU Report concludes that providers can "slow or block access to certain sites on the Internet, such as those without financial arrangements with the cable company's ISP, or those with content considered objectionable for political or competitive reasons," even while they "speed transmission to an affiliated site (or a site that has paid the operator for the privilege of special treatment)." The National Cable Telecommunications Association (NCTA), the U.S. cable industry trade organization, has issued a press release rejecting the conclusions of the ACLU Report. It is noteworthy that the U.S. Federal Communication Commission is currently considering the regulatory status of cable modem service providers. To view a copy of the ACLU Report, visit: To view a copy of the CTC Report, visit: To see the press release by the ACLU, visit: American Civil Liberties Association. U.S. Federal Communication Commission. National Cable Telecommunications Association. Columbia Telecommunication Corporation.


02 07 18

Disclaimer: This Newsletter is intended to provide readers with general information on legal developments in the areas of e-commerce, information technology and intellectual property. It is not intended to be a complete statement of the law, nor is it intended to provide legal advice. No person should act or rely upon the information contained in this newsletter without seeking legal advice.

E-TIPS is a registered trade-mark of Deeth Williams Wall LLP.