On Wednesday Congress will vote on a bill known as Tauzin/Dingell (after its sponsors). It would eliminate all the requirements on the four remaining Baby Bells to play fair with competing telecom providers. It’s instant death for Covad and all other DSL providers except Verizon, SBC (Pacific Bell’s parent), Qwest and BellSouth.

Under the guise of encouraging investment in high-speed telecommunications, this bill would relieve the large telephone companies from their obligation to provide access to competitors to the telephone wires used in providing high speed data service. This is in direct opposition to the Telecommunications Act of 1996 which currently forces the large telephone monopolies to cooperate with competitors in allowing use of wires that are in the public trust.

This bill may be the beginning of the end for local ISPs such as Sonic. It will also stifle competition in other telephone services.

Here’s a web site with information about the bill and links to more resources.

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