Panel to Vote on Tauzin-Dingell Bill

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A bill intended to deregulate Internet services provided by the Baby Bells is
expected to come up for a vote Wednesday in the House Energy and Commerce
Committee.

The bill (H.R. 1542) would allow the Bells to provide data long distance
immediately and to offer high-speed Internet access exempt from unbundling and
resale requirements.

AT&T Corp., the nation's largest cable operator, is strongly opposed to
the bill. The National Cable & Telecommunications Association, however, is
officially unopposed to the legislation.

The Bell bill is sponsored by Energy and Commerce chairman Rep. Billy Tauzin
(R-La.) and the panel highest-ranking Democrat, Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.).

The Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet approved the bill two
weeks ago.

Last week, Reps. John Conyers (D-Mich.) and Chris Cannon (R-Utah) introduced
bills designed to nullify portions of the Tauzin-Dingell bill.

Conyers' bill would, among other things, postpone instant long-distance data
relief in any state where the incumbent Bell company has 85 percent or more of
residential or business subscribers.

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