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Stevens Announces Revised Video Franchising Legislation

May 18, 2006  •  Post A Comment

Under the gun from Democrats, Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, announced Thursday that he plans to unveil on June 5 a revised version of his legislation to make it easier for phone companies to get into the pay cable TV business.

Sen. Stevens said the Senate Commerce Committee would hold a hearing on the revised bill June 13. In addition, he said a committee vote on the measure would be held June 20.

During Senate hearings on the lawmaker’s bill, Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., and other Democrats made clear that they didn’t believe that one key provision in the bill went far enough to prevent telephone and cable TV companies from abusing their power over their broadband networks to discriminate against Internet content providers.

Sen. Stevens said he planned to work on his bill with Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, to consider revisions that would give local governments a larger role in cable TV regulation than the bill-which turns much of the regulatory authority that local governments now have over cable to the Federal Communications Commission-would currently allow.

During an impromptu press briefing after the hearing, Sen. Stevens said he had yet to decide what revisions to include in the bill. He predicted that the measure would win Senate approval this year.