Rival Telecom Bills Compete
Rep. Billy Tauzin, R-La., has some unwelcome company in his drive to free the regional Bells from restrictions on their data services.Rep. Billy Tauzin, R-La., has some unwelcome company in his drive to free the regional Bells from restrictions on their data services. Two rival lawmakers in the House said last week that they would offer competing legislation to Tauzins bill, H.R. 1542, which passed a subcommittee in late April. Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., and Rep. Chris Cannon, R-Utah, would use antitrust language to attempt to force the Bells to open their local markets to competition and sell broadband data lines at wholesale rates to rivals.
By using the antitrust angle, the bills would fall under the jurisdiction of the House Judiciary Committee, instead of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which Tauzin chairs. Separately, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., sent a letter to House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., insisting that the Judiciary Committee have a chance to hold hearings on and amend Tauzins bill, which would change key elements of the landmark Telecommunications Act of 1996.