FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 27, 2006
Contact: Jeffrey Mazzella
CFIF Salutes House Energy and Commerce Committee Members for Voting to Ensure Competition and Choice for Consumers
ALEXANDRIA, VA Yesterday, the House Energy and Commerce Committee passed the Communications Opportunity, Promotion, and Enhancement Act of 2006, which will promote competition in the video services industry and ultimately benefit consumers in the form of lower prices and more choices. In response, Center for Individual Freedom (CFIF) President Jeffrey Mazzella today issued the following statement:
"The Center for Individual Freedom salutes the House Energy and Commerce Committee and its members for their forward-thinking approval of the Communications Opportunity, Promotion, and Enhancement Act of 2006.
"CFIF believes that consumers throughout the United States should no longer be deprived of the benefits of full and wide-open competition for video services. In updating a national regulatory policy that has remained unchanged since the infancy of the cable television industry, the act acknowledges advances in digital Internet communications that have occurred over the last 10 years.
"The local franchise system was appropriate for its time, but the convergence of capabilities and the advancement of technologies in recent years mean that the old local franchise system today serves only to shield the cable companies from competition.
"Consumers deserve more choices, and replacing the local franchise system with a national franchise system should hasten the day when consumers can opt to receive TV signals over the lines of more than one provider into their homes.
"Committee members also are to be congratulated for defeating attempts to hijack this legislation with an amendment that would have regulated the Internet under the guise of 'network neutrality.' It is important that lawmakers stay focused on fostering competition in cable and not delay the arrival of competitive choices in cable.
"With that said, there still exists some problematic language regarding net neutrality in the legislation that should be removed before a final vote by the full House.
"While we applaud the Committee's vote against 'net neutrality' yesterday, we now call on the Leadership of the U.S. House of Representatives to take the free-market approach to addressing the issue of network neutrality and remove it from the very important de-regulatory language of franchise fee reform."
The Center for Individual Freedom (www.cfif.org) is a non-profit constitutional and free-market advocacy organization. CFIF opposes over-burdensome state and federal regulations and taxing regimes that impede the evolution of the Internet and e-commerce.
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