CLECs Attempt to Forestall Bell-Backed Bill
Fearing that Congress may soon consider an Internet services bill initiated by the Bell Operating Companies, competing telecommunications carriers and lawmakers opposed to the measure are urging congressional leadership not to bring it up for a vote.Fearing that Congress may soon consider an Internet services bill initiated by the Bell Operating Companies, competing telecommunications carriers and lawmakers opposed to the measure today urged congressional leadership not to bring it up for a vote. Known as the Tauzin/Dingell bill, after its sponsors Reps. Billy Tauzin, R-La., and John Dingell, D-Mich., the legislation would allow the Bells to offer long-distance broadband access services without first demonstrating that their local markets are open to competition. The Telecommunications Act of 1996 mandated that before the incumbent local telephone companies could get into the long-distance market, they must first meet a list of competitive requirements established by the Federal Communications Commission.
The bills opponents hope not only to quell any possibility of its passage, but also to demonstrate quickly to the financial community that the measure stands no chance of future momentum. It is not at all certain that the measure would pass in the House of Representatives if voted today, and it is even less certain that there would be sufficient support for a Senate counterpart, but opponents worry that continued discussion of its potential will only compound the financial difficulties faced by competing carriers as investors await an outcome.