Democrats Take a Close Look at FCC

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The new Democratic Senate Commerce Committee majority won't waste any time kicking the tires on the Republican led FCC.

The committee has scheduled an FCC oversight hearing among its first three of the new Congress--the others are aviation and rail security.

The full-committee hearing will be February 1, 2007 at 10 a.m.

The House Commerce Committee also plans to take a hard look at the FCC, according to one member of the new Democratic majority there.

One issue they will be looking at is the FCC's recent decision to ease video franchise rules to help telcos provide price and service competition to cable. It is similar to video franchise legislation--a shot clock on  local franchise negotiations, build-out limits--that failed to pass in the last Congress due to the network neutrality issue.

The FCC had an open proceeding on whether local franchise negotiations were delaying the rollout of video and broadband competition and what should be done about it, but the move was criticized by some as legislation in regulation's clothing.