Sweeping Telecom Bill Introduced In U.S. Senate; Could Go Nowhere

Word from Multichannel’s Ted Hearn that U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), chairman of the Senate Commerce committee and a champ at holding hearings, has birthed a whopping 135-page bill intended as a complete overhaul of current telecom law. The summary reads like Stevens is trying to regulate or re-regulate every possible area from video franchising rules and muni broadband to sports programming. (He’s against multichannel sports exclusives and would be closing a loophole that has allowed Comcast to operate a regional sports net without sharing with the DBS companies.)
U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) is co-sponsoring the bill but does not support it intact; he issued a statement explaining that this is just the beginning of the process. No telling where this will go.
Update: CNET News.com: “Included in the massive proposal is, however, one requirement sure to please the recording industry: authorization for the FCC to start the process of outlawing digital over-the-air radio and digital satellite receivers sold today that permit users to record broadcasts. (They would be replaced by units that treat audio broadcast flags as copy protected.) … But the bill does say that Americans should enjoy the right to share recorded broadcast TV over their home networks, make ‘short excerpts’ available over the Internet, and that news programming generally should not be flagged.”
WSJ: “Two hearings will be set during the next few weeks to discuss the bill, according to a committee aide, and a markup could come after the Memorial Day recess.”

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