Judge Dismisses City’s Lawsuit Against Time Warner Cable

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A federal judge on Friday dismissed the city of Minneapolis’s lawsuit against cable franchise-holder Time Warner Cable.

The city had charged that Time Warner had violated its franchise agreement in two ways: by failing to pay the city 5 percent of its revenue from the sales of cable modem service and by refusing to allocate 25 percent of its channel capacity to public access.

But Judge Ann Montgomery ruled against the city in both cases, noting that the 1996 Telecommunications Act preempts any local cable agreement that is inconsistent with federal law. In 2002, the Federal Communications Commission formally classified cable modem services as an information service rather than a cable service, effectively allowing Time Warner to withhold promised payments. Montgomery also dismissed the city’s complaint on the channel capacity issue, ruling that the six-year statute of limitations had expired.

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