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GAO: May Need New Internet Law

Washington-The General Accounting Office said last Thursday Congress may wish to consider a new law designed to harmonize the regulation of cable, wireless, and phone-company provision of Internet access services.

The GAO, Congress' investigative arm, did not take a stand on whether cable should be subject to the same open-access rules that govern phone companies, though it noted that consumer access to multiple ISPs over cable in the future was "problematic."

Sens. Mike DeWine (R-Oh.) and Herb Kohl (D-Wis.), leaders of the Antitrust, Business Rights and Competition Subcommittee, said they were pleased to learn consumers have access to 7,000 ISPs, but expressed concern that choice on that scale might not exist in the broadband market.