US House of Representatives pass bill to allow telecom firms into cable TV

MUMBAI: The US House of Representatives have passed a bill that makes it easier for American telecom firms to enter the American cable TV market.Media reports indicate that lobbying by telecom firms AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth could have influenced the Representatives.

The Communications Opportunity, Promotion and Enhancement Act of 2006 was pased.

BellSouth VP governmental affairs Herschel Abbott says, "We congratulate and thank Chairman Barton and Representative Rush for shepherding this legislation through the House. We look forward to Senate action so that legislation can be signed by the President this year.

"Completion of video franchise legislation will allow faster rollout of a video service that can provide another competitive alternative to cable, offering the kind of customer service and quality that customers demand.

"Given the amount of debate over so called 'net neutrality' during consideration of this bill, let me again assure consumers that BellSouth will not block or degrade access to any legal content on the internet. Net neutrality is a phony issue and it ought to be laid to rest by this vote."

The bill will allow national video franchising for Internet Protocol television (IPTV) providers in hopes of spurring competition in the US pay television market. The Cope Act removes regulatory barriers for video service providers to enter the market. Additionally, the legislation allows municipalities to deploy broadband and provide video services on a transparent and nondiscriminatory basis, thereby removing barriers for another competitor's entry intro the marketplace.

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