Senate Panel's TV Choice Vote Suggests Franchise Reform Is Within Reach, Verizon Executive Says

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Senate Commerce Committee today approved the Communications, Consumer Choice and Broadband Deployment Act of 2006, sponsored by Sens. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) and Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii). The legislation reforms the cable franchise process by establishing a national franchise that will create additional consumer choice and competition by enabling other providers to enter the television market more quickly. The U.S. House passed a similar video choice bill on June 8. The next legislative step is a Senate floor vote. The following statement should be attributed to Peter Davidson, Verizon senior vice president for federal government relations.

"Congress is close to producing a tangible victory for consumers - lower cable TV bills and greater video choice. The full Senate should vote soon because every year reform is delayed costs consumers $8.2 billion in higher cable bills.

"This bipartisan committee vote - and the huge House victory - prove video choice is within consumers' grasp this year. The momentum is there if the full Senate acts soon to give consumers the competition and choice they deserve.

"We congratulate Chairman Stevens and Sen. Inouye on their decisive, bipartisan victory for consumers."