04.11.2006 04:08 PM
House subcommittee moves telecommunications bill to full committee

A House of Representatives subcommittee approved a bill last week that would remove local video franchising requirements and in place establish a national system for telecommunication companies to begin offering IPTV service.

After the mark up process, the telecommunications subcommittee approved the measure to pass onto the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. The bill is expected to make it through the committee and win approval from the full House.

The bill would grant new video service providers, such as telecommunications companies, a 10-year national license without requiring them to build out their systems. Cable companies were also granted a way to move from local to national franchising.

Broadband Everywhere, an advocacy group made up various cable industry and public interest groups, expressed its disappointment that the legislative markup did not include amendments that would have strengthened language to prevent discrimination in where telecommunications companies rollout IPTV services.

The National Cable Telecommunications Association president and CEO Kyle McSlarrow looked favorably on the markup, saying it made “significant progress towards a framework for true competition in voice services.”

The approved draft expands the focus of the bill from competition in the video marketplace to “the broader telecommunications landscape and the need to promote facilities-based wireline voice competition,” McSlarrow said.

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