Monday, March 27, 2006

Proposed Barton-Rush Bill Addresses Video Franchising

U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Joe Barton, R-Texas, and U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush, D-Ill., introduced a bill aimed at making it easier for new entrants into pay-TV services.

Specifically, the Communications Opportunity, Promotion and Enhancement Act of 2006 would:

  • Create a nationwide approval process for pay-TV services. By streamlining this system, these companies will be able to offer new TV services in many areas while protecting local interests. Cable providers will also be eligible to participate in this streamlined system once they face local competition.

  • Require Internet-based telephone services to offer 9-1-1 capabilities while ensuring Internet telephone providers have access to all necessary 9-1-1 infrastructure and technology.

  • Clarify the FCC authority to prevent Internet service providers from blocking or degrading any content or applications delivered over the public Internet.

  • Preserve municipalities' right to collect up to a five percent fee from pay-TV providers.

  • Allow cities and towns to develop their own broadband networks.

A hearing on the bill for Thursday, March 30, 2006.


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