Battle of bills

By Michael Martin, Network World |  Business

A pair of bills this week introduced by members of the House Judiciary Committee aim to speed up broadband deployment by promoting competition in the DSL market.

The bills run counter to a bill already introduced by House Commerce Committee Chairman Billy Tauzin (R-La.) and Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.). That bill seeks to spur broadband rollouts by limiting Federal Communication Commission and state regulation of the former Baby Bells.

The new bills, titled the Broadband Competition and Incentive Act and the American Broadband and Competition Act, would prevent regional Bell operating companies from expanding out of region until they face more competition for local services and would make it simpler to resolve disputes between competitive carriers and the RBOCs, supporters of the bills say. Supporters include a range of competitive carrier and consumer organizations.

The new bills are sponsored by Reps. Chris Cannon (R-Utah) and John Conyers (D-Mich.) and also contain incentives for carriers to roll DSL services out to rural areas.

The Tauzin-Dingell bill was also designed to promote the rollout of DSL to more remote regions. However, it aimed to achieve the goal by reducing regulation of the Bells and ending the practice of forcing the Bells to unbundle DSL equipment.

The Bells have asserted that it will not be economical for them to serve rural areas if they are forced to share their facilities and infrastructure with competitors.

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