McCain Loses A la Carte Push

The Senate Commerce Wednesday rejected an amendment designed to give cable operators and other wireline video providers regulatory incentive to offer channels of programming on an a la carte basis.

The amendment, sponsored by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), would have denied streamlined franchising relief to video providers that refused to provide channels a la carte.

It was defeated in a 20-2 vote. McCain said Federal Communications Commission chairman Kevin Martin supported his approach.

Although he voted against McCain, Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.) said video providers needed to respond to consumer demand for more channel choice.

“This is something that's going to come,” Lott said. “I would urge the industry to get on with it.”

The vote came as the Senate panel continued to debate numerous amendments to broad telecommunications legislation (S.2686) sponsored by Stevens.

The committee began marking up the bill last Thursday and worked all day Tuesday. It is expected to wrap up its work Wednesday afternoon.