McCain rolls out broadband bill


Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) late Thursday introduced his wide-ranging broadband-deregulation bill.

The bill would make it easier for phone companies to compete with cable in
the broadband market by opening "all consumer broadband markets to competition,"
with all broadband providers subject to the same regulatory scheme.

But it would not require consumer broadband suppliers to provide access to
non-affiliated Internet-service providers except for any such
arrangements that predate passage of the bill.

The bill would prevent states or localities from doing anything to interfere
with the provision of any consumer broadband service. To that end, it would
limit rights-of-way fees to "actual costs reasonably allocatable to the
administration of access."

According to the bill, neither the Federal Communications Commission nor any
state would have regulatory authority over rates, charges, terms or conditions
of retail broadband service.

The bill also said a study must be conducted within two years to determine
whether state regulation is necessary to protect consumers, as well as a study
on the government's role in facilitating wireless broadband.