Watch out, cable. The electric industry can now invade your turf, as the Federal Communications Commission on Oct. 14 approved regulations that allow power companies to provide broadband services.

Washington, D.C. (The Hollywood Reporter) -- Watch out, cable. The electric industry can now invade your turf, as the Federal Communications Commission on Oct. 14 approved regulations that allow power companies to provide broadband services.

In a 5-0 vote, the commission agreed to new regulations that allow power companies to provide such broadband services as television programming, Internet access and telephone service over their electrical transmission lines.

Power companies have a leg up on many other cable wannabes, as they do not have to build new lines to customers' homes.

"Years from now, when we look back, it is going to be a historically significant day for communication in the United States," FCC chairman Michael Powell said. "We talk so often about competition; well, here it is."

While the commission voted to establish the technical rules that allow power companies to provide broadband service, questions about their obligations under FCC rules that define telephone rules and other regulations remain, FCC commissioner Michael Copps said.

Copps said he is disappointed that the commission order dodges some of the hardest questions about the service.

"We need certainty and predictability," Copps said. "Issues such as universal service, disabilities access, E911, pole attachments, competition protections and, critically, how to handle the potential for cross subsidization between regulated power businesses and unregulated communications businesses remain up in the air. Is it right to allow electricity rate payers to pay higher bills every month to subsidize an electric company's foray into broadband?"

But Federal Energy Commission chairman Pat Wood dismissed the concerns, saying the new technology would inject competition into the broadband business.