KMC Telecom has thrown its support behind Sen. Fritz Hollings' opening statement made at the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee hearings on proposed broadband legislation H.R. 1542.
The bill is known as the Tauzin-Dingell bill and the Internet Freedom and Broadband Deployment Act. It would change key tenets of the Telecommunications Act of 1996.
KMC, a provider of fiber-based products based in Bedminster, NJ, is urging consumers across the U.S. to oppose the Tauzin-Dingell bill introduced by House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Billy Tauzin and Rep. John Dingell. The bill retracts the key local telecommunications market opening requirements contained in the Telecommunications Act of 1996, which paved the way for greater competition in local markets.
In his statements, Hollings dubbed the bill "The Local Competition Destruction Act."
"H.R. 1542 has been titled by its supporters as The Internet Freedom And Broadband Deployment Act," Hollings said. "But in fact, it has been mistitled. More accurately, this bill should be titled The Local Competition Destruction Act, because, make no mistake about it, this legislation would break faith with the market opening provisions of the 1996 Telecommunications Act and return consumers to the mercy of the Bell monopolies."
"Sen. Hollings has long been a champion of competition in the telecommunications industry, and he recognizes this legislation for what it is, an attempt by the Bells to exploit legitimate concerns about broadband to further their own interests in leveraging their dominate position in local telephone service into the new broadband market," says KMC Telecom President Roscoe C. Young II. "As Sen. Hollings correctly points out, the problem with broadband is not on the supply side, as the Bells would have you believe. Rather it is on the demand side, and Congress is already looking at several proposals to address this issue."
"What Tauzin-Dingell does is de-regulate the retail price of broadband services before there is effective competition," states Tricia Breckenridge, executive vice president of Industry Affairs at KMC Telecom. "And it kills off competitors by denying us access to the broadband connections to reach our customers. The result for consumers will be fewer Internet access options and higher prices."