View Full Version : U.S. House Passes Controversial Broadband Bill!!

03-06-2002, 02:51 PM
What is happening today.

One of the big problems with broadband in the US is the fact that it's not available to everyone. Nearly half of the country does not have access to either cable or DSL.

Broadband by cable providers has been largely unregulated by the government and thus has managed to grab 70% of the broadband market.

DSL, which is relatively new, is heavily regulated and currently holds a 28% market share. It is this technology, which has the greatest potential to grow. Since nearly 100% of the US has access to telephone lines for their homes, DSL, in time, could be available to nearly everyone in the country.

What just happened.

U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill that would allow the regional phone companies to sell high-speed Internet services without regulatory oversight. This could be the first step towards expanding the distance between your home and the C.O. of the telephone company thus making DSL available to more people.

What might happen.

Though the bill did pass the House, the Senate Commerce Committee would have to pass a similar bill before it can vote on by the full Senate. Senator Ernest Hollings (D-South Carolina) is the chairman of that committee and has voiced strong disapproval of the bill. It is unlikely that the bill will make it to the Senate this time around.

Is there a downside to the bill?

Yes there is. One of the big problems that opponents of the bill have with it is that it can make it difficult for small long distance providers to stay in business. Since the regional phone companies control more than 90 percent of their lines, it stands to reason that the smaller carriers will likely run into problems that the government can't intervene with if the regional telephone company shuts them out.

What does all this mean?

There is a strong push being made to make broadband available to everyone. The bill being pushed would be a significant step in making that happen. As of mid-2001, broadband (both cable and DSL) was available to only half of the country and only 10% of households subscribe to the service. Various government officials believe that legislation promoting the growth of broadband would help spark the economy in the midst of this recession.

In terms of broadband, I believe that this would increase competition between cable and DSL providers. There would also be greater availability of broadband to the masses. In time, this may drive down prices and, of course, get more people online with their Xbox.


The Terminator
03-06-2002, 05:01 PM
Cool. I've been all for that bill, ever since I heard about it. Maybe some decent DSL/Cable will be offered in my area now... =]

03-07-2002, 08:20 AM
The biggest limitation with DSL is the proximity requirement to your POP. If you're not within three miles you can kiss DSL goodbye.