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After the Bell

Will Congress land a big blow for fair competition?

This story appears in the August 2001 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Despite quick passage in a House committee, legislation thatwould give the four former Regional Bell Operating Companies moreInternet leverage seems destined to falter. The Freedomand Broadband Deployment Act (H.R. 1542) would eliminate aprovision in the 1996 Act requiring that BellSouth, Qwest, SBC and allow other phone companies to accesstheir local phone facilities before the will allow them to makelong-distance Internet connections.

The Bell companies argue that the legislation offers them thesame abilities cable companies have to provide Internet servicewithout federal regulation, but critics say it would allow them tocontinue thwarting outside access to their phone lines.

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