Over the summer, Senator John Ensign introduced a telecom reform act that was pretty much the dream legislation of incumbent telco providers. It had some good, deregulatory ideas included, but also a few things that clearly favored the big incumbents over new upstarts. Now, the U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce committee introduced their own thoughts on reforming the Telco Act of 1996. Again, this bill seems to have a lot of good ideas in it. It takes the states out of the process (which the states will hate), and gives the regulatory power to the feds. This is a good thing, in that it keeps providers from having to obey fifty different sets of laws in order to offer nationwide service. It also would basically mandate network neutrality -- saying that providers cannot block any service, though leaving open the ability for them to block things for security reasons. Also, unlike the Senate bill, this one would allow for muni-broadband, assuming the munis follow the same regulations as other providers. There are a few small things that are a concern, but overall most of the points make sense. All in all, it actually looks like a fairly decent set of guidelines for an actual bill -- which probably means it has no chance of getting anywhere.
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