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Broadband Equality Bill Introduced
May 2002
WASHINGTON, May 3 -- Legislation to encourage the widespread deployment and use of broadband technology was introduced Tuesday by Sens. John Breaux (D-La.) and Don Nickles (R-Ok.).

The Broadband Regulatory Parity Act of 2002 would ensure regulatory parity among all providers of high-speed -- also known as broadband -- Internet access and services.

Currently, four competing technologies can provide consumers with high-speed Internet access: cable modem, digital subscriber lines (DSL), fixed wireless and satellite. Only DSL, provided by telephone companies, is highly regulated and must satisfy federal and state requirements.

Cable modem providers control 70 percent of the competitive broadband market, but are virtually unregulated. Telephone companies, with less than 30 percent market share, are subject to strict regulatory requirements.

The "Breaux-Nickles" bill will subject providers of broadband services and broadband access services to the same regulatory requirements as other players in the broadband market. The legislation identifies the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) as the appropriate authority to determine which regulatory requirements, if any, should be retained and which should be eliminated.

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