Lieberman, McCain prepare broadband bills

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Sens. Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) are the next two
Senators expected to jump into the broadband debate, which is getting
increasingly complicated in the Senate.

Next Tuesday, Lieberman will introduce legislation that calls on the
administration to present its national broadband strategy.

Lieberman also will release a report showing that broadband deployment is
critical to the country's economic health.

The Bush administration has been saying for months that it plans to release
its national-broadband plan, but so far nothing has been seen.

Technology companies have been pushing the administration to develop a policy
that would result in the entire country having access to networks as fast as 100
megabits per second in ten years.

McCain's bill is a wide-ranging deregulatory package that would allow phone
companies to more readily compete with cable companies in the broadband market,
according to reports.

It also would allow the FCC to require cable operators, in some
circumstances, to let Internet service providers use cable networks to offer
competing services.

McCain is expected to introduce his bill in June.

Lieberman and McCain would add their bills to a growing pot of proposed
legislation intended to spur broadband deployment.

Sens. Fritz Hollings (D-S.C.) and John Breaux (D-La.) both have introduced
their own bills, although they differ radically from each
other.

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