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Telecom Sector Remains Shaky

Telecom Sector Remains Shaky

All five FCC commissioners appeared before House Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet Wednesday, their first appearance before Congress since last week’s controversial decision on the future of local telephone competition, which Commissioner Kevin Martin characterized as “the most difficult” decision so far in his tenure as a commissioner. “I believed we needed to craft a balance package of regulations that would help revitalize the industry by spurring new investment in next generation broadband infrastructure while also maintaining access to the network elements necessary for new entrants to provide competitive service.”
By a 3-2 vote, the agency freed the regional Bell telephone companies of having to lease their new high-speed data lines to competitors at discounted rates. Martin pushed through his package last week, in a public split from fellow Republican, Chairman Michael Powell, who had a different plan. Powell told committee members last week’s decision would “cause further unrest for the industry.”
Much of the discussion at the hearing focused on competition in the telecom sector, however the media ownership rules were also touched on.
Commissioner Michael Copps said that media concentration deserves “a national dialogue and debate,” and that maintaining a multiplicity of voices sustains our Democracy.