NAB Joins Open-Access Forces

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The National Association of Broadcasters has broken its silence on a major
broadband-policy issue, telling federal regulators both phone companies and
cable operators should provide access to competing Internet-service providers
and be stopped from discriminating against unaffiliated Web content.

'History has shown that network owners inevitably control access to consumers
so as to minimize competition,' the NAB said in comments filed with the Federal
Communications Commission Monday.

The FCC, the NAB added, 'should retain the access and nondiscrimination
policies that have been consistently applied in the narrowband Internet
marketplace and continue to apply them to high-speed Internet access provided
over wireline facilities.'

The Consumer Electronics Association -- which has joined the NAB in calling
on the FCC to require cable operators to carry both analog- and digital-TV
signals during the digital-TV transition -- has not embraced the NAB's call for
forced ISP carriage by cable operators.

The CEA -- a partner in the High Tech Broadband Coalition, which also filed
comments Monday -- said the FCC should allow the 'market for broadband over
cable to develop without heavy-handed regulatory intervention.'

CEA spokesman Jeff Joseph said the trade group favors dual must-carry because
cable dominates the pay TV market with 70 million subscribers.

'Competition exists in the broadband arena, so there is no need to impose
regulatory requirements. We view this as two different issues, two different
services,' Joseph said.

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