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Nadler Takes On Regional Bells

Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), a long-time champion of consumer issues and the Congressional Representative for New York’s “Silicon Alley,” in conjunction with Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers (D-MI) and Rep. Chris Cannon (R-UT) today took on the Baby Bells to protect American consumers, by promoting real competition in the telecommunications and internet industry.  They announced the introduction of two bi-partisan bills that would subject Regional Bell Operating Companies (RBOCs) to anti-trust provisions if they are shown to exhibit anti-competitive behavior in the local phone markets.

The companion bills, known as the  “American Broadband Competition Act” and the “Broadband Competition and Incentives Act of 2001" would also augment the 1996 Telecom Act to ensure that monopoly power is limited in the local telephone markets by enforcing the Act’s market-opening requirements before the RBOCs can enter the long distance market.

“RBOCs are looking more and more like unregulated monopolies,” said Rep. Nadler.  “This is resulting in higher prices for consumers, serious service problems, and a suppressing of innovation.  My office is being deluged with service complaints from consumers and small businesses, and stories of anti-competitive practices by Silicon Alley Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and Competitive Local Exchange Cariers (CLECs).”

Another pending piece of legislation, known as “Tauzin-Dingell” would further tips the scales in favor of the RBOCs, by fully dismantling the market-opening requirements of the 1996 Act and allowing monopoly telephone companies to expand their reach into the Internet market without opening their network to competition.  The “American Broadband Competition Act” and the “Broadband Competition and Incentives Act of 2001" attempt to block such a move.

In contrast, these new companion bills will also promote competition in the deployment of broadband by allowing competitors to have real access to the taxpayer-subsidized network that is currently controlled by the RBOCs. With such competition consumers and business can look forward to better and cheaper internet service.

“This issue really hits home.  It took my service provider nearly a month to simply transfer my current Internet connection from my old district office to my new one when we moved recently.  We had no e-mail or access to the Web during that entire time.  I’m a Congressman. . .image what is happing to the average consumer,” Rep. Nadler said.

Rep. Nadler has served in Congress since 1992.  He represents the 8th Congressional District of New York, which includes parts of Manhattan and Brooklyn.

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