HR 1698, the American Broadband Competition Act of 2001.
Re: antitrust law and broadband deployment.
Sponsors: Rep. Chris Cannon (R-UT) and Rep. John Conyers (D-MI).
Date Introduced: May 3, 2001.
Source: Office of Rep. Cannon.
H. R. ______
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Mr. CANNON introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on ___________
To ensure the application of the antitrust laws to local telephone monopolies; and for other purposes.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the ‘‘American Broadband Competition Act of 2001’’.
SEC. 2. AMENDMENT TO THE CLAYTON ACT ON THE APPLICABILITY OF THE ANTITRUST LAWS TO CERTAIN VIOLATIONS IN THE TELECOMMUNICATIONS INDUSTRY.
The Clayton Act (15 U.S.C. 12 et seq.) is amended by adding at the end the following:
‘‘SEC. 28. (a) In any action based on a claim arising under the antitrust laws—
‘‘(1) the court shall not dismiss such claim on the ground that the defendant’s conduct was or is subject to the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 101 et seq.), or that such Act takes precedence over, because of its specificity or recency of enactment, the antitrust laws; and
‘‘(2) the trier of fact may consider any conduct that violates any obligations or requirements imposed by the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 101 et seq.), or rules adopted pursuant thereto, in determining whether the defendant has engaged in anticompetitive or exclusionary conduct.
‘‘SEC. 29. (a) If an adjudicatory body determines that an incumbent local excange carrier in any particular State has violated section 251, 252, 271, or 272 of the Communications Act of 1934, or any rules promulgated pursuant to such sections, such carrier shall be deemed to have violated the antitrust laws.
‘‘(b) In addition to any penalty that may be imposed under any other provision of law, such carrier and all affiliates of such carrier may not jointly market in such State any advanced telecommunications service with any other telecommunications or information services offered by such carrier or by any of such affiliates.
‘‘(c) Not later than 1 year after the enactment of the American Broadband Competition Act of 2001, the Attorney General shall submit a report the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President pro tempore of the Senate—
‘‘(1) identifying suits brought under this section; and
‘‘(2) describing the effect that the enforcement of this section has had on competitiveness in the telecommunication marketplace.’’.
SEC. 3. ESTABLISHMENT OF AN ALTERNATIVE PROCESS TO RESOLVE DISPUTES.
(a) AMENDMENT.—Title 9 of the United States Code is amended by inserting after section the following:
‘‘§17. Disputes arising under interconnection agreements
‘‘(a) INTERCONNECTION AGREEMENT CONTROVERSIES SUBJECT TO ARBITRATION.—Any interconnection agreement entered into pursuant to section 252 of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 252) shall be treated for purposes of this chapter as a contract containing a written provision to settle by arbitration a controversy thereafter arising out of such contract. Any such controversy shall be subject to arbitration in accordance with the alternate dispute resolution process established pursuant to this section.
‘‘(b) ESTABLISHMENT REQUIRED.—Within 90 days after enactment of the American Broadband Competition Act of 2001, the Attorney General shall prescribe a multistate alternative dispute resolution process. The Attorney General shall not include either the Federal Communications Commission nor any State commission as a party to such dispute resolution process.
‘‘(c) CRITERIA FOR ESTABLISHMENT OF PROCESS.—The multistate alternative dispute resolution process required by this section shall—
‘‘(1) provide for a private, commercial arbitration process that will permit a requesting telecommunications carrier to resolve a dispute related to an interconnection agreement with an incumbent local exchange carrier arising in 1 or several States in an open, nondiscriminatory, and unbiased fashion within 45 days after the filing of such dispute;
‘‘(2) incorporate the Commercial Dispute Resolution Procedures of the American Arbitration Association in effect at the date of enactment of the American Broadband Competition Act of 2001 to the extent consistent with the time limits imposed in this section, except that all decisions of arbitration panels constituted pursuant to this section shall be in writing, publicly available, and posted on the Internet;
‘‘(3) permit all parties to have the right to discovery; and
‘‘(4) ensure requesting telecommunications carriers do not file frivolous disputes, and establish penalties to deter such conduct.
‘‘(d) AUTHORITY OF ARBITRATION PANELS.—Except as otherwise provided in this section, awards and decisions of such arbitration panels shall be enforceable in Federal district courts pursuant to the procedures of this chapter.
‘‘(e) NO COLLATERAL ESTOPPEL.—The parties to the controversy shall be bound by the decision of the arbitration panel as to the matter in controversy under the interconnection agreement entered into pursuant to section 252 of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 252), but otherwise such decision shall not have the effect of collateral estoppel in any other proceeding involving any of such parties.
‘‘(f) OTHER REMEDIES NOT LIMITED.—Except as provided in subsection (e), the availability of alternative dispute resolution pursuant to this section shall not—
‘‘(1) limit any other remedy a requesting telecommunications carrier might have for the same or similar facts, including relief before the Attorney General of the United States, the Federal Communications Commission or State commissions (as defined by section 3 of the Communications Act of 1934), courts of the United States, or any other appropriate forum; or
‘‘(2) modify, affect, or supersede the authority and responsibility of the Federal Communications Commission to expeditiously administer and enforce the Communications Act of 1934.’’.
(b) CONFORMING AMENDMENT.—The table of sections of chapter 1 of title 9 is amended by inserting after the item relating to section 16 the following:
‘‘17. Disputes arising under interconnection agreements.’’.