Last updated: February 21, 2008 - 1:56am
Statement by U.S. Senator Daniel K. Inouye on
May 1, 2006
Mr. President, today, I have agreed to co-sponsor telecommunications legislation introduced by Senator Stevens. I do so in a spirit of bipartisanship, because I believe that bipartisanship will be required if we are to successfully update our nationâ€™s communications laws. My co-sponsorship, however, is not a demonstration of support for the bill itself.
This is the draft of the Majority Staff, and I have numerous, substantive objections to the bill in its current form. Given that my colleagues and I have not yet had an opportunity to weigh in on this critical legislation, I consider its introduction the very beginning of the legislative process.
Now that the Majority Staffâ€™s draft is no longer a secret, we can begin a full review of the bill and address the many issues important to me and my colleagues. At first glance, some provisions will need to be deleted or changed substantially and some issues still need to be addressed.
For example, we cannot ignore concerns about the potential for discrimination by network operators, but the draft appears to do just that by failing to create enforceable protections that will ensure network neutrality. Similarly, I believe that the provisions addressing video franchise reform must follow more closely the principles Senator Burns and I offered earlier this year. At a time of increasing consolidation in the communications industry, it is essential that we guarantee rights of interconnection, promote competition, and restrain anti-competitive behavior, particularly in markets where the Bell Companies continue to have significant market power. The legislation must promote the availability of affordable, broadband services and extend consumer protections on a competitively neutral basis.
Again, I recognize and honor the Chairmanâ€™s prerogative to set this legislative process into motion. The Chairman is aware of my many concerns and has assured me that this will be a bipartisan process, and the Democrats will be at the table. I look forward to our discussions, and I am hopeful that we can develop a final product that everyone on our Committee can support.
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