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Build-Out Amendment Defeated

The House Commerce Committee Wednesday voted down an amendment that would have set build-out requirements for new franchisees under a national video franchise scheme being considered by Congress.

The vote against the amendment, introduced by Democratic Reps John Dingell (Migh.), Ed Markey (Mass.), and Hilda Solis (Calif.), was defeated 33 to 22.

A similar amendment was defeated by a fairly wide margin in the Telecommunications Subcommittee. Markey said the bill, which is being marked up in the House Commerce Committee Wednesday, would be a "historic failure" for the lack of that build-out requrement, which he said would have insured that new franchisees serve "the other side of the tracks," rather than just richer customers.

The committee also defeated an amendment 29-22, introduced by Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), that would have toughened language preventing discrimination of service according to income.