Telecom chiefs, reps unite vs. dereg bill

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Several lawmakers and telecommunications chief executives will join forces
Wednesday in opposition to the broadband-deregulation bill sponsored by Reps.
Billy Tauzin (R-La.) and John Dingell (D-Mich.) that would deregulate the
high-speed Internet businesses of the regional Bell phone companies.

'The Tauzin-Dingell bill would roll back one of the most important consumer
protections in current federal law and cost thousands of jobs within the telecom
industry,' stated an announcement on the group's press conference Wednesday.

Included in the group, which will release an open letter to members of
Congress, are Reps. Tom Davis (R-Va.), John Conyers (D-Mich.), Chris Cannon
(R-Utah) and Bill Luther (D-Minn.), as well as John Windhausen, president,
Association for Local Telecommunications Services; Roscoe Young, president, KMC
Telecom Inc.; Charlie Thomas, chief executive, Net2000; and George Schmitt,
chairman, eSpire.

If the Tauzin-Dingell bill is enacted, the Bell companies' competitors would
not be able to demand access to the Bell monopolies' high-speed network, and
they will go out of business, the group said.

The Bell companies argued that they cannot compete with cable, which does not
face similar access requirements on its high-speed Internet platform, unless
their broadband businesses are deregulated.

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