Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Senate Commerce Committee Drops Net Neutrality from Communications Bill

The Senate Commerce Committee voted not to include Net Neutrality provisions in the proposed "Communications, Consumer's Choice, and Broadband Deployment Act of 2006" (SB 2686), which is now making its way to the Senate floor. The vote was evenly split (11-11), which meant the provision could not be included in the bill.

The proposed bill, which was sponsored by Sens. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) and Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), seeks to reform the cable franchise process by establishing a national franchise, enabling telcos to enter the television market more quickly. The U.S. House passed a similar video choice bill on June 8.

"Congress is close to producing a tangible victory for consumers -- lower cable TV bills and greater video choice. The full Senate should vote soon because every year reform is delayed costs consumers $8.2 billion in higher cable bills. This bipartisan committee vote -- and the huge House victory -- prove video choice is within consumers' grasp this year. The momentum is there if the full Senate acts soon to give consumers the competition and choice they deserve, stated Peter Davidson, Verizon senior vice president for federal government relations.


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