Tech Law Journal

Capitol Dome
News, records, and analysis of legislation, litigation, and regulation affecting the computer, internet, communications and information technology sectors

TLJ Links: Home | Calendar | Subscribe | Back Issues | Reference
Other: Thomas | USC | CFR | FR | FCC | USPTO | CO | NTIA | EDGAR

HR 2637 IH, the Consumer and Community Choice in Access Act.
Re: requiring open access to cable Internet access facilities.

Date introduced: July 29, 1999.
Source: Library of Congress.

1st Session

H. R. 2637

To protect consumer and community choice in access to Internet providers, and for other purposes.


July 29, 1999

Mr. BLUMENAUER (for himself and Mr. DEFAZIO) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Commerce


To protect consumer and community choice in access to Internet providers, and for other purposes.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,


    This Act may be cited as the `Consumer and Community Choice in Access Act of 1999'.


The Congress finds the following:

    (1) As cable, telecommunications and Internet lines of business merge, cable operators are upgrading their cable systems to offer 2-way communications on their cable networks, including high-speed broadband access to the Internet.

    (2) Upgraded cable systems are now offering Internet access up to 1,000 times faster than traditional phone lines, and up to 100 times faster than integrated services digital network (`ISDN') lines.

    (3) Some cable operators are requiring their customers to obtain broadband access only through their affiliated Internet service provider (`ISP').

    (4) Citizens who need or desire Internet access through the significantly faster cable network, but who choose not to use the cable operators' affiliated ISP must pay twice (once to the cable operator's ISP, once to their own ISP), in order to access the ISP of their choice.

    (5) Some in the cable industry, utilizing both their affiliated ISP and considerable market power, will not allow open and direct access to unaffiliated ISPs and their customers via the broadband cable platform.

    (6) The initial design of broadband cable modem Internet access has also created technological barriers to open access that need to be addressed.

    (7) In their federally recognized roles as local cable franchising authorities, local communities across the country are now confronted with the question of whether to allow their cable operators to restrict unaffiliated ISP from gaining direct, open access to their customers on the regulated cable network. In Oregon, the city of Portland and Multnomah County have already faced this situation, and decided that the public interest requires open access. This decision has been upheld by a Federal court.

    (8) However, some have expressed concern that allowing localities the ability to promote competition by requiring open access will delay the deployment of cable broadband Internet access services.

    (9) Local jurisdictions that choose to impose a procompetitive open access requirement serve the important public purpose of serving as `laboratories' for field trials to develop true competition on the cable Internet gateway.

    (10) Clearly, the possible development of a monopoly bottleneck to high-speed Internet access is a critical public policy issue that Congress, the Federal Communications Commission, and local franchising authorities need to address.


(a) REALLOCATION OF AUTHORITY- Section 624 of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 544) is amended--

(1) in subsection (b)(1), by striking `or other information services'; and

(2) by adding at the end the following new subsection:

`(j) INTERNET ACCESS- The Commission may require cable operators that provide interconnection, using cable system facilities, with the Internet to offer such interconnection on terms and conditions that are fair, reasonable, and nondiscriminatory. Such requirements shall include the obligation to provide direct or indirect interconnection with the facilities and equipment of any Internet service provider on terms and conditions that are functionally and economically equivalent to the interconnection provided to any other Internet service provider, whether or not affiliated with the cable operator. If the Commission determines, after notice and comment, that a cable operator is not complying with such obligation, the Commission may establish the terms and conditions of such interconnection.'.


Section 612 of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 532) is amended--

    (1) in subsection (b)(5), by inserting `or other cable service' after `provision of video programming';

    (2) in subsection (c)(2), by inserting `or other cable service' after `over any video programming'; and

    (3) by adding at the end the following new subsection:

`(k) TREATMENT OF HIGH-SPEED DATA SERVICES- Until the Commission establishes open access or interconnection standards and obligations under section 624(j), a service that provides high-speed data service (as such term is defined in regulations of the Commission) and that seeks to obtain channel capacity under this section may, notwithstanding subsection (b)(5), be treated as seeking channel capacity for a commercial use.'.


Section 621(c) of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 541(c)) is amended by adding at the end the following new sentence: `A telecommunications service that is provided by a cable system is subject to regulation as a common carrier service.'.


Nothing in this Act--

    (1) restricts or limits the authority of a State or franchising authority; or

    (2) shall be construed to affect any civil action that is pending in any Federal or State court on the date of enactment of this Act.


Subscriptions | FAQ | Notices & Disclaimers | Privacy Policy
Copyright 1998-2008 David Carney, dba Tech Law Journal. All rights reserved.
Phone: 202-364-8882. P.O. Box 4851, Washington DC, 20008.