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Cable providers hit Maine over a la carte law

The lawsuit argues Maine's law, effective Sept. 19, violates free speech rights.

AUGUSTA, Maine — Major cable providers are suing Maine over its new law requiring subscribers to have the option of purchasing access to individual cable channels.

The Bangor Daily News reports operators, including Comcast, sued Maine and 17 municipalities to delay and throw out a law effective Sept. 19.

The lawsuit filed Friday in U.S. District Court argues Maine's law violates free speech rights. Such companies argue such restrictions imperil the survival of programming networks, including those serving niche audiences.

The law's independent sponsor, Rep. Jeff Evangelos, says TV viewers complain about paying for unwanted channels.

The FCC said its commission rulings haven't addressed state laws requiring a la carte cable TV.

A spokesman for Maine's attorney general said the office had no comment. The Democratic-controlled Legislature passed the law largely on party lines.

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