Lott unhappy with Powell FCC - Broadcasting & Cable

Lott unhappy with Powell FCC

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Just because Republican favorite Michael Powell is at the helm of the
Federal Communications Commission doesn't mean that Senate Minority Leader Trent
Lott (R-Miss.) is happy with the agency.

'I've been very disturbed by the FCC for a long time,' Lott said at the
National Association of Broadcasters' State Broadcasters' Conference in
Washington, D.C., Monday. 'Like many agencies, they take the laws we make and
distort them.'

What's particularly disturbing Lott is the FCC's take on broadband policy,
which is coming up for a vote in the House of Representatives.

Two weeks ago, the commission issued a rulemaking that would absolve phone
companies of any requirement to carry competitive Internet-service providers on
their high-speed networks.

The FCC's proposal is similar to one sponsored by Reps. Billy Tauzin (R-La.)
and John Dingell (D-Mich.), which the House will consider Wednesday and
Thursday.

'They come in there just as the House is about to act,' Lott told reporters
after his speech. 'It seems to me that's undercutting it.'

Lott also criticized the agency for delaying a decision on whether Northpoint
Technology Ltd. should be given free access to direct-broadcast satellite
spectrum.

Northpoint wants to offer multichannel and broadband services delivered
terrestrially via microwave, but it is waiting for the FCC to decide whether it
should get the licenses and, if so, whether they should be auctioned or given to
Northpoint exclusively and free-of-charge.

The House is expected to pass the Tauzin-Dingell bill
this week, but it's not expected to get very far in the Senate, where it faces
stiff opposition from Senate Commerce Committee chairman Fritz Hollings
(D-S.C.).

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