Cox sued over Web access franchise fees


Cox Communications has been hit with a class action lawsuit by two customers in Roanoke, Va. who allege the cable TV company is unlawfully imposing franchise fees for high-speed Web access, The Wall Street Journal reports.

The suit, filed on Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia, follows Cox's decision not to collect some franchise fees in some areas of the west. That move was spurred by a ruling from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco that defined cable Internet service as a telecommunications service rather than a cable TV service. Franchise fees paid by municipalities are based on cable TV services.

So last fall, Cox stopped collecting franchise fees for Internet service in areas of the Ninth Circuit Court's jurisdiction. The Virginia class action is attacking Cox's apparent inconsistency on the issue.