Senate Slates Video Competition Hearing

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The Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights will hold a hearing on video competition Wednesday, Sept. 28.

Billed as "Video Competition in 2005 – More Consolidation, or New Choices for Consumers," the hearing is to take place a day after Tuesday's FCC deadline for comments on proposed telecom reform.

The hearing comes in the wake of several bills that would help telcos compete with cable by allowing them to bypass the local franchising process. It also comes as Comcast prepares to get even bigger with the proposed purchase of some Adelphia systems.

Telcos like SBC and Verizon have been pushing such bills to help them roll out video service. Verizon just launched its first service in Texas last week, where the state recently passed a law to help cable competition avoid protracted franchising negotiations. The law, however, essentially holds telcos to the same obligations as the competition. Cable operators say that whatever breaks telcos get should also apply to them.

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