Martin: Wrap Up Access Proceeding

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Federal Communications Commission member Kevin Martin urged the agency Friday to complete action on the cable access proceeding promptly and
indicated little support for forcing cable operators to carry unaffiliated
Internet-service providers.

In a speech in Washington, D.C., Martin said the cable access proceeding should conclude
soon to provide regulatory certainty to the cable industry and other affected
industries.

"We ought to complete the cable open-access proceeding. Personally, I would
be very cautious about applying that type of legacy regulatory regime to a new
and innovative service," Martin said in a speech to the National Forum on
Broadband Deployment, a group FCC chairman Michael Powell addressed the day
before.

In his remarks, Powell voiced probably his strongest opinions to date against
forcing cable to open its Internet networks under rules that apply to phone
companies.

"When someone advocates regulatory regimes for broadband that look like,
smell like, feel like common carriage, scream at them!" Powell said.

Powell and Martin are both Republicans who favor market-oriented solutions,
coupled with tough enforcement measures, to spur innovation and growth in media
and telecommunications markets.

The FCC launched the cable access proceeding under former Democratic chairman
William Kennard in September 2000 as a notice of inquiry -- a procedural step
short of a notice of proposed rulemaking. Kennard opened the docket partly in
response to conflicting court decisions on whether cable-modem service is a
cable service, an information service or a telecommunications service.

The cable access proceeding is under review at the FCC Cable Services
Bureau.

Martin, echoing recent statements by Powell, also said the FCC should adopt
rules to promote facilities-based competition between new phone and data players
and the incumbents. He also urged state and local governments to consider easing
up franchise fees and taxes on broadband providers.

"To truly help spur broadband deployment, every level of government should be
committed to minimizing and eliminating these excess financial burdens," Martin
said.

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