Richmond court tackles access appeal


County regulators in Richmond, Va., defended in federal appeals court Wednesday open-access conditions they imposed on the local AT & T franchise. Henrico County officials argued that the court should recognize cable modems as a "cable service" subject to local regulation.

Henrico County imposed the open-access requirement as part of approving AT & T's acquisition of the county's MediaOne franchise. AT & T in May obtained an injunction barring enforcement of the ordinance.

The local phone provider, Verizon, testified on behalf of open access, but on slightly different grounds. Verizon said cable modems are a "telecommunications" service, obligating the federal government to impose open access.