In another sign that phone and cable companies are being allowed into each other's domains, a federal appeals court today upheld a lower court decision allowing phone companies to sell TV programs directly to their customers. A unanimous three-judge panel of the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court ruled that the current federal regulations barring phone company entry into TV are a violation of free-speech rights. Congress had enacted the ban in 1984 to prevent phone companies from using their monopoly power to subsidize efforts in cable. Many cable companies are aggressively pursuing plans to provide phone services. The congressional ban was challenged by the Bell Atlantic-Virginia, a unit of Bell Atlantic Corp, which wants to offer video to 60,000 customers in Alexandria.Post your opinion on theNew Mediabulletin board.