Summary: H.R.1542 — 107th Congress (2001-2002)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Passed House amended (02/27/2002)

Internet Freedom and Broadband Deployment Act of 2001 - Amends the Communications Act of 1934 to define "high speed data service" as a service capable of transmitting electronic information at a rate generally not less than 384 kilobits per second in at least one direction.

(Sec. 4) Prohibits the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and each State from regulating the rates, charges, terms or conditions for, or entry into the provision of, any high speed data service, Internet backbone service, or Internet access service. Prohibits the FCC from imposing or requiring the collection of any fee, tax, charge, or tariff upon such service that is not currently imposed or required. States that the FCC is not required to repeal or modify current regulations that enable a requesting carrier to use the facilities of an incumbent (established) local exchange carrier to provide high speed data services. Requires the local carrier, if it provides high speed data services over a fiber loop or feeder subloop, to offer to requesting competing local exchange carriers, over such loop or subloop, for delivery at the incumbent local exchange carrier's central office, a high speed data service provided by such carrier using an industry-standard protocol. Requires such data service to enable a requesting carrier to transmit information between the incumbent's central office and: (1) a customer's premises served by that central office; (2) a remote terminal supplied by the requesting carrier; or (3) a high frequency portion of the copper subloop obtained by the requesting carrier.

States that an incumbent local exchange carrier shall not be required to: (1) provide unbundled access to any packet switching network element; (2) provide access on an unbundled basis to any local loop or subloop; or (3) provide for collocation in a remote terminal or to construct or make available space in a remote terminal. Prohibits any network element used in the provision of high speed service from being entitled to any subsidy that is not provided on a nondiscriminatory basis to all providers of high speed data service and Internet access service. Requires all local exchange carriers that provide high speed data service, for three years after the enactment of this Act, to offer for resale any such service at wholesale rates. Preserves existing interconnection agreements.

(Sec. 5) Requires each incumbent local exchange carrier to provide: (1) Internet users with the ability to subscribe to and have access to any Internet service provider that interconnects with such carrier's high speed data service; (2) any Internet service provider with the right to acquire necessary facilities and services to facilitate such interconnection; (3) any Internet service provider with the ability to collocate equipment in order to achieve such interconnection; and (4) any provider of high speed service, Internet backbone service, or Internet access service with special access for the provision of Internet access service within a period that is no longer than the period in which such local incumbent exchange carrier provides special access to itself or any affiliate for the provision of such service.

(Sec. 6) Prohibits a Bell operating company from providing interLATA (local access and transport area) voice telecommunication service by means of the high speed data service or Internet backbone service provided by such company until it is authorized to provide interLATA services originating in an in-region State. Requires a Bell operating company, 30 days before commencing to offer any interLATA high speed or Internet backbone service originating in an in-region State, to: (1) notify the Attorney General of such intention; (2) describe the services to be offered; and (3) identify the region in which the service will be offered if it will not be offered State-wide.

Amends the Telecommunications Act of 1996 to require full application of the antitrust laws to all rights, obligations, powers, and remedies under such Act or the Communications Act of 1934, regardless of the progress of competition in any market.

(Sec. 7) Requires Bell operating companies and their affiliates to deploy high speed data services in each State in which such a company or affiliate is an incumbent local exchange carrier, in accordance with a specified deployment schedule. Provides forfeiture penalties for companies and affiliates failing to so comply. Requires the FCC to include in certain required annual reports an analysis of the deployment of high speed data service to underserved areas.

(Sec. 8) Authorizes the FCC to impose penalties for violations of amendments made by this Act.

(Sec. 10) Authorizes the FCC, after a hearing determination, to order a common carrier to cease or desist from any prohibited anti-competition action or inaction. Increases from $100,000 to $1 million the penalty authorized to be charged for each common carrier violation, or each day of a continuing violation, to a maximum of $10 million (previously $1 million). Authorizes the FCC to increase such penalty to up to $2 million each, to a maximum of $20 million, for subsequent violations of the same provision, rule, regulation, or order. Prohibits a forfeiture penalty from being imposed against a person who does not hold a broadcast license if the violation charged occurred more than two years (currently, one year) prior to the date of notification of liability. Requires the FCC to: (1) evaluate the impact of such increased remedies and penalties on improving compliance with the Communications Act of 1934 and with FCC rules, regulations, and orders; and (2) report evaluation results to specified congressional committees.