Telecom Bill Avoids Ownership Revamp
May 2, 2006 at 6:09 AM (PT)
Sens. TED STEVENS (R-AK) introduced the SENATE COMMERCE COMMITTEE's rewrite of the telecommunications laws MONDAY but the bill does not address radio or media ownership issues, nor does it directly address the hot-button topic of "net neutrality" (other than authorizing an "annual review" of the issue).
The bill does authorize the FCC to form a board to review DRM and other schemes to prevent unauthorized redistribution of audio content, but most of the bill deals with allowing phone companies to get into video distribution without needing local franchises from municipalities and authorizing the FCC to reinstitute the copy-protection "broadcast flag" for digital TV.
The "net neutrality" issue, which refers to ISPs being able to restrict, cripple, or prevent the use of programs and content on their networks (i.e., blocking BitTorrent or Vonage use), has been a primary topic of discussion in the telecom industry in recent months.