Draft legislation attempts to create a level playing field for regulating IP-based broadband services.

George Leopold, Contributor

September 15, 2005

1 Min Read

WASHINGTON — Draft broadband legislation unveiled Thursday (Sept. 15) in the House would attempt to create a level playing field for regulating IP-based broadband services, lawmakers said.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee said key provisions of the "staff discussion draft" included:

Creating a common regulatory definition for broadband transmission services that would cover DSL, cable modems and other broadband services. Ensuring network neutrality to prevent broadband providers from blocking access to Internet content. Providing a uniform regulatory framework for broadband, voice-over-IP and video services providers. Developing a streamlined franchising process for broadband video providers. "We need a fresh new approach that will encourage Internet providers to expand and improve broadband networks, spur growth in the technology sector and develop cutting-edge services for consumers," said Committee Chairman Joe Barton, R-Texas. Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., said the draft bill represented a starting point in the process of forging comprehensive broadband legislation that would overhaul the 1996 Telecommunications Act. Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., chairman of the House telecommunications and Internet subcommittee, said he expected the House to complete its version of the legislation by the end of the year. In July, similar legislation was introduced in the Senate. The nation's phone companies, anxious to break free of current regulations that hamper their ability to offer broadband services, support the legislation.

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