House Judiciary Committee Holds Hearing on Broadband Bills

May 22, 2001. The House Judiciary Committee held a hearing HR 1698, the "American Broadband Competition Act of 2001," and HR 1697, the "Broadband Competition and Incentives Act of 2001," a pair of bills introduced on May 3, 2001 by Rep. Chris Cannon (R-UT) and Rep. John Conyers (D-MI). The Committee also heard testimony on HR 1542, a bill sponsored by Rep. Billy Tauzin (R-LA) and Rep. John Dingell (D-MI), and reported by the House Commerce Committee on May 9. The sponsors and supporters of all of these bills assert that they will incent widespread deployment of broadband services.

Rep. James

The Committee Chairman, Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI), presided. He said in his opening statement that "I want to ensure that all Americans get high speed broadband service as quickly as possible while at the same time maintaining competition and choice in that market. Both of the bills before us today as well as the Tauzin Dingell proposal seek that same goal. The question is which, if any of them, will work? Contrary to what some have suggested, I have not decided that question for myself." Ranking Democrat, Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), in contrast, is a sponsor and supporter of the HR 1698 and HR 1697.

Bob Barr, General Counsel of Verizon, testified against HR 1698 and HR 1697, as did John Malone, a telecom industry consultant. Terry Harvill, a Commissioner on the Illinois Commerce Commission, and Jeff Blumenfeld, managing partner of the law firm of Blumenfeld and Cohen, testified in favor of the two bills. See, prepared testimony of Barr, Malone, Harvill, and Blumenfeld.