Maine will no longer fight a court’s decision that rejected the state’s law requiring cable companies to give subscribers the option of purchasing access to individual cable channels rather than bundled packages.
The parties agreed last month to resolve the lawsuit in favor of the cable companies, and a federal judge signed off last week on the conclusion that the law doesn’t pass constitutional muster.
Comcast, joined by Disney, Fox Cable, NBC/Universal and others, sued the state over the law that was supposed to go into effect in 2019.
A federal judge delayed the law from going into effect and the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed in a ruling earlier this year.
The appeals court noted that the state acknowledged there’s an insufficient record to justify that the law could withstand First Amendment arguments raised by the cable companies. Cable companies contended they were unfairly singled out, among other things.
Independent Rep. Jeff Evangelos, the bill’s sponsor, said TV viewers complain about paying for unwanted channels. The Democratic-controlled Legislature passed the law largely on party lines.
Evengelos said he may have lost the battle. But he predicted cable companies would eventually embrace an a la carte model as more people switch from cable to streaming services.
“Kids don’t even watch cable anymore,” Evangelos told the Portland Press Herald. “They use their gadgets.”