Brindisi introduces bill on cable and internet regulation

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Congressman Anthony Brindisi is introducing his first bill since taking office in January from New York’s 22nd Congressional District, a measure intended to get cable television and internet companies to better cooperate with state regulators.

Brindisi’s office announced Thursday, March 7 that he planned to introduce the bill on the House floor when the chamber convenes.

Under the Transparency for Cable Consumers Act, a cable or internet company fined by a state public service commission would be required to report its number of cable and broadband internet customers in each county, the average cable and broadband internet bill amounts in each county, give a full accounting of fees charged customers in each county, and report the average broadband internet speeds delivered in each county, Brindisi’s announcement said.

Cable and internet service was an issue for Brindisi while he was in the state Assembly and since he launched his congressional campaign nearly two years ago. Brindisi fought with Charter Communications, which was fined $2 million after not meeting terms of New York state’s approval of its merger with Time Warner Cable to extend more broadband internet service, particularly upstate.

In January, he demanded the Federal Communications
Commission outline how it planned to hold the company accountable but said he has had no response.

“For families on fixed incomes, an unexpected rate hike could wreck their budget,” the Utica congressman said. “And for people in rural communities, crawling internet speeds can take away their connection to jobs, health care, information, and important online services,” the lawmaker added.

“When a company enters into an agreement, it should be required to hold up its part of the bargain,” Brindisi said. “We can’t keep giving these companies a free pass,” the congressman said. “If we don’t hold them accountable, nothing will change.”

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