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NCTA has mixed feelings about phone bill

The cable industry doesn't oppose a bill that would allow the four regional phone companies to send high-speed data long distances, wrote NCTA in a letter to the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

That said, the cable industry is concerned that the legislation is a vehicle for other measures that would require cable operators to open their two-way high-speed data networks to competitors' uses. "NCTA would strongly oppose efforts to classify cable Internet services as telecommunications services or otherwise extend common carrier-like regulation, including mandatory access requirements, to cable Internet services and facilities," wrote NCTA President Robert Sachs to bill co-sponsors Reps.

Billy Tauzin (R-La.) and John Dingell (D-Mich.) and other committee members. Rep. Rick Boucher (D-Va.) has said he would be interested in passing an "open-access" bill for cable companies. At a House Telecommunications and Internet Subcommittee vote last week, members proposed and withdrew amendments that would have kept such access requirements on the regional phone companies.

Although NCTA is officially taking a neutral position on the measure, which passed the subcommittee, Sachs says "NCTA remains concerned that a broad rewrite of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 would create regulatory uncertainty, having a negative impact on capital markets and discouraging competitive investment."
- Paige Albiniak