US House Gives Verizon a "Sweetheart Deal"

US House Gives Verizon a "Sweetheart Deal"

  • Posted on: 9 June 2006
  • By: sean

The US House of Representatives passed the COPE Bill last night - giving the phone companies a "Sweetheart Deal" (as characterized by Representative Edward Markey). The bill makes it easier for telephone companies to enter into competition with cable companies by establishing a model for national franchising - leapfrogging over cities' and towns' control over their public rights of way. The bill will have implications for the franchise fees that are collected to support public, educational, and governmental access.

In addition to public rights of way issues, network neutrality became a major focus of the bill. Markey proposed an amendment to strengthen the net neutrality component; it was defeated in favor of a rather meaningless amendment proposed by Texas Republican Lamar Smith.

The Senate is considering its own version of a video franchising reform bill, which is markedly different from the House version. Should that bill pass, it would need to be reconciled with the House bill before heading to the President's desk.

For more information about the COPE Bill, see
http://www.freepress.net/press/release.php?id=145
http://www.freepress.net/press/release.php?id=148
http://www.broadcastingcable.com/article/CA6342361.html