McCain Skeds March Hearing on Rates


Washington -- Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) is planning to
hold a hearing March 31 -- one year to the day before the industry becomes largely
deregulated -- on cable-rate increases and cable-programming costs.

McCain, chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, said
late last year that he thought that cable rates were out of control, but he would not
support reregulation of the industry.

Instead, McCain said he planned to push competition issues,
like program access, to the forefront. McCain spokeswoman Pia Pialorsi said a witness list
was unavailable.

On Feb. 12, the committee will take testimony on
McCain's bill (S. 1422) -- a measure that would reverse a decision to hike copyright
fees paid by satellite carriers to provide network and superstation signals to home-dish

McCain's agenda will also include a hearing Feb. 2 on
Internet indecency; a hearing March 5 on telephone universal-service policies; and a
hearing April 2 on cellular-phone-tower siting and emergency-calling issues.