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Maine Law Allowing A La Carte Cable Blocked By Federal Judge

Joy Asico
Comcast via AP Images, File
In this April 25, 2019, file photo, Comcast Unveils The Universal Sphere inside Comcast Technology Center in Philadelphia.

A federal judge is putting on hold a new Maine law that would allow cable television customers to subscribe a la carte to individual channels and avoid programming bundles they don’t want.

U.S. District Court Judge Nancy Torresen granted a temporary injunction to Comcast and other challengers on Friday. She found that the companies were likely to prevail on their claim that the law violates their rights of editorial control under the First Amendment.

Torresen noted that while that was a probable outcome of the case, the evidence wasn’t sufficiently developed to throw the law out altogether, and she ordered a trial.

State Rep. Jeffrey Evangelos, an independent from Friendship who authored the bill, says the judge is putting corporate free speech ahead of consumers' free choice.

This story has been corrected to note that Rep. Jeffrey Evangelos is from Friendship, not Freedom.

A Columbia University graduate, Fred began his journalism career as a print reporter in Vermont, then came to Maine Public in 2001 as its political reporter, as well as serving as a host for a variety of Maine Public Radio and Maine Public Television programs. Fred later went on to become news director for New England Public Radio in Western Massachusetts and worked as a freelancer for National Public Radio and a number of regional public radio stations, including WBUR in Boston and NHPR in New Hampshire.