Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Telecommunications Industry Overhaul Wins Senate Approval

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Telecommunications Industry Overhaul Wins Senate Approval

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON (AP) _ A bill to deregulate cable TV rates and impose sweeping new restraints on violence and smut on television and computer services has passed the Senate.

The bill was approved by a vote of 81-18, nearly a week after the Senate began work on the massive bill _ which would overhaul half a century of telecommunications law.

The bill would let local telephone, long-distance and cable companies get into each other's businesses and free the largest electric utilities to provide an array of telecommunications services.

And it would lift longstanding limits on how many TV and radio stations one company may own nationally and remove an 83-year-old restriction on foreign ownership of telecommunications companies as long other countries remove theirs.

Sen. Larry Pressler, R-S.D., the bill's author, predicted it would "result in lower telephone rates, lower cable rates and more services to the American public."

But Sen. Bob Kerrey, D-Neb., who led the charge against the bill, said: "This legislation burdens trust too much. Ultimately, this bill is about power. The bottom line is that in this bill, corporations have it, and consumers don't."

Before voting on final passage, the Senate considered a number of amendments.

One, sponsored by Sen. Paul Simon, D-Ill., and supported by the Clinton administration would have replaced a provision in the bill that lets a company own as many radio stations as its wants with a provision limiting ownership to 50 AM stations and 50 FM stations. …

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