It's my understanding that there's now a good amendment to the otherwise dismal state cable bill HB1500. As the Keep Us Connected coalition reports, "considerable work has been completed on an amendment to the bill as the Attorney Generalâ€™s office and House staff work with telephone and cable companies, cities, PEGs and consumer advocates to craft a bill that will result in fair competition.".
AT&T, the incumbent phone provider in Illinois, has been opposed to any kind of public interest in this bill. (Someone alert the media!) The bill wasn't mentioned in this week's state telecom committee hearing, and there is serious public opposition to the unamended HB1500 (which didn't materialize by magic, I might add), so now there's signs that AT&T may be pursuing its Plan B -- a midnight legislative coup.
As always, we encourage you to contact your legislators and spread the word.
BREAKING UPDATE: The amended version of HB1500 has passed out of committee. This appears to be a good thing, as "the amendment resolves public, educational, government (PEG) access TV and local regulatory control issues, and maintains strong consumer protections. The amendment improves but does not address all concerns about build-out requirements."
BREAKING UPDATE II: The amended version passed yesterday in the full Illinois House, 113-0. Commentary on the final bill from Keep Us Connected notes that the bill is far better from what it had originally been. Beacon News has additional coverage, and notes that the amended bill is a "dramatic improvement" and "the best statewise franchise bill yet".
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