March 4, 2006
Save Public Access TV! Update
"House Bill on National Video Franchising may leave committee this week.
Earlier in the month, industry news sources predicted that it would be unlikely that a bill would leave committee on Telecom Reform. But this past week, Energy and Commerce Chairman Joe Barton, R-Texas, reported that leading members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee are close to reaching agreement on telecommunications overhaul legislation. The bill is expected to include provisions for national franchising.
This will not be the sweeping change predicted for telecom legislation. Earlier drafts of the telecom overhaul bill addressed a host of issues, including telecom interconnection standards and network neutrality safeguards intended to preserve the openness of the Internet. But there are now reports that the committee may leave most of the non-video issues out of the final bill.
In short, it seems the bill will reward phone companies for their intense lobbying efforts and campaign donations. Verizon Communications incurred at least $5.5 million in lobbying expenses in 2005. The actual figure is probably higher because some of its public filings were not reflected in the PoliticalMoneyLine data. Its merger partner, the former MCI, spent an additional $2 million last year. Merger partners AT&T and SBC Communications had expenditures of $4.2 million and $1.8 million during the first half of 2005 (source National Journal)."
National Journal: "House Committee Nears Deal On Telecom Overhaul Measure"
National Journal: "Telecom, Tech Firms Spend $152 Million For Lobbying"
Political Money Line
Center for Public Integrity