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The fight between the keepers of the Internet pipelines and those who want to ship bits through them got a little hotter this week as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit heard arguments Nov. 1 over whether AT&T can be required by the city of Portland, Ore., to open up its cable lines to America Online and other Internet service providers (AT&T v. City of Portland, 9th Cir., No. 99-35609, argued 11/1/99).

The lawsuit began when AT&T filed suit in January to challenge Portland’s decision to require AT&T to lease its newly acquired cable properties to competitors who want to offer Internet, telephone, and other services over the cable lines. AT&T maintains that the federal Cable Act prevents local governments from imposing an open-access requirement on cable providers.

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