Monday, January 29, 2007

Local Governments Challenge FCC


The nation's chief telecommunications regulator stands accused of misrepresenting the facts while pushing through rules that will make it easier for big phone companies to get into cable television.

The policy change won approval by the Federal Communications Commission on a 3-2 vote Dec. 20. That angered local government officials who claim the agency overstepped its authority and now promise a legal challenge. The vote also drew the threat of a "legislative fix" from a powerful congressman.

The new rules are meant to spur more competition for cable television providers. They require local governments to speed up the approval process for new competitors, cap the fees paid by new entrants and ease requirements that competitors build systems that reach every home.