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Legislation Would Help Phone Companies to Offer Cable Service

Jan 5, 2005  •  Post A Comment

In a major favor for the telephone industry, Reps. Cliff Stearns, R-Fla., and Rick Boucher, D-Va., on Tuesday introduced legislation that industry sources said will clear the way for phone companies to offer cable TV services as part of integrated Internet protocol-based service packages of voice, video and data–without the need for franchises from local governmental authorities.

In a speech last month, National Cable & Telecommunications Association President and CEO Robert Sachs warned that allowing phone companies to sidestep cable franchising obligations would give them an unfair competitive advantage over cable.

Mike Balmoris, a spokesman for SBC Communications, a company that is leading the phone industry charge into TV, said the giant phone company had yet to analyze the bill. “But Congress is rightfully viewing IP as a new or emerging technology not subject to traditional legacy rules,” Mr. Balmoris said.