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Powell: Cable Dereg Spurred DSL

2/28/2001 6:06 AM Eastern

Federal Communications Commission chairman Michael Powell said Wednesday that
cable broadband deployment forced phone companies to get serious about deploying
high-speed-data services that had been held back from consumers for more than a
decade.

Powell, in remarks to state regulators, said cable seized the opportunity
provided by Congress in the Telecommunications Act of 1996 to offer high-speed
Internet access -- a move that precipitated the Baby Bells to introduce their
own broadband service, digital subscriber line.

'The data opportunities led to the deployment of higher-speed
infrastructures, which forced the Bell operating companies to get off the chair
and react,' Powell said. 'DSL has been around for a long time, folks -- 15 years
or more. Where was it? It's rolling out there now because cable made them.'

Powell said cable invested in broadband primarily because the 1996 law
deregulated the industry, removing price controls and permitting entry into new
lines of business.

'I personally believe the act should be held responsible rightly for the
explosion and interest in broadband technology. I think the act drew investment
to cable, the deregulatory components of it did,' Powell told the National
Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners.

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