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Telecom Reform Bill Signed by President

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  • BBracey@aol.com
    Source Benton ... ps- April fools! Bonnie Bracey bbracey at aol com
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 1, 2006
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      Source Benton

      > "We're bigger than them; we won."
      > -- Baby Bell Executive Referring to Saturday's Vote on the
      > Telecommunications Competition and Investment Act of 2006
      > http://www.telecommagazine.com/archives/article.asp?HH_ID==AR_1713
      > BREAKING NEWS...
      > [SOURCE: Various]
      > Washington insiders rolled their eyes earlier this week when House
      > Commerce Committee Chairman Joe Barton (R-TX) "bet" that President
      > Bush would sign a new telecommunications law this year. But, in
      > perhaps the most unprecedented show of majority power in the nation's
      > history, that is exactly what happened over the last 12 hours. In
      > votes cast in the wee hours of Saturday morning, the House and Senate
      > passed, by narrow majorities, the Telecommunications Competition and
      > Investment Act of 2006. President Bush signed it without a ceremony
      > after a quick return from a visit to Mexico just a few hours ago.
      > Because of the timing of the votes -- held when even C-SPAN cameras
      > were dark -- and the President's signature, coverage of the new
      > legislation is spotty. The Telecom Act of 2006, as some are already
      > referring to the bill, aims to increase competition in the video
      > delivery market by allowing easily entry for telephone companies like
      > AT&T and Verizon. Apparently, the process for awarding truly
      > "national" franchises has been streamlined for these new entrants so
      > that they may simply inform the Securities & Exchange Commission of
      > their intent to provide video services before beginning to bill
      > consumers. The complex provisions related to Universal Service,
      > critics are already saying, will redirect up to 30% of USF funds to
      > just four states: Alaska, Texas, Illinois and Montana. Broadcasters
      > may take the biggest hit of all due to the new law: to rally
      > conservative support for the bill, the final product includes the
      > Broadcast Indecency Act introduced originally by House Telecom
      > Subcommittee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) (Although the legislation
      > also includes now provisions for a new, "enhanced V-Chip," due to
      > last minute maneuvering by Rep Ed Markey (D-MA). In addition, the
      > legislation phases in spectrum fees on all licenses beginning in
      > Fiscal Year 2007 and ends the use of "unlicensed" spectrum. Municipal
      > telecommunications networks, including so-called "Wi-Fi" networks,
      > will be prohibited beginning January 1, 2008. Finally, the bill aims
      > to end the "Net Neutrality" debate by 1) allowing network operators
      > to discriminate between traffic if it is "economically advantageous,"
      > 2) relying solely on "market-driven agreements" to determine
      > interconnection and 3) restricting use of a network by the terms of
      > service agreed to when subscribing. The text of the bill is not yet
      > publicly available, but is expected within the next two weeks when
      > FCC enforcement/regulation is due to commence. As more reaction and
      > details of the new law's provisions become available, we'll update
      > our Telecommunications Legislation Tracker (what a waste of bandwidth
      > that turned out to be) and collect it all at
      > http://www.benton.org/index.php?q==node/1946

      ps- April fools!

      Bonnie Bracey
      bbracey at aol com
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