Rep. Rick Boucher at F2C on Next Steps in Congress with Telecom Bills


(Crosspost from Media Policy Blog)

During my trip to Washington, D.C. this past week, I recorded Rep. Rick Boucher (D-VA) (see earlier post "@ F2C: Rep. Rick Boucher on House Telecom Bill") who spoke at the Freedom to Connect conference. Rep. Boucher sits on the House Subcommitee on Telecommunications and the Internet, which voted a new verison of the telecom bill out of subcommittee, this past week.

During Rep. Boucher's talk, he discussed the legislative process involving the telecom bill and the next steps ahead. He said that when the full Committee on Energy and Commerce returns from Easter recess they will move the bill to the floor of the House for a vote in early May or by the middle of the month.

The following is an excerpt from Rep. Boucher's talk at F2C:

(From Tuesday April 4, 2006)

"When our subcommittee processes this bill, and finishes its work this week, it moves to the full Committee on Energy and Commerce, probably the first week that we're back from our two week recess, which begins on Friday [April 7]. We will take up the bill in full committee with the prospect that it will be on the floor of the House by the first week in May or perhaps the second week in May. So, by the middle of May, in all likelihood, this measure will have been debated and passed in the house.

The Senate is on somewhat of a different track and will be adding some additional elements and I'll comment a bit on the Senate process as I conclude these remarks…"

Unfortunately, he did not get back to commenting on the Senate process at the end of his remarks. But, his talk was helpful in understanding the substance of the House telecom bill, involving Video Franchising, Network Neutrality, and the issue of "Build Out", which may be the most controversial aspect of the bill.

At stake, is whether telephone companies entering the video market will be required to provide all communities with access to their new video (as well as voice and data) services, or only to the wealthiest few.

Click here to listen to Rep. Boucher's talk at Freedom to Connect 2006.

– Colin Rhinesmith, MPB Guest Blogger

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