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Phone Company Vs. Cable Battle Just Beginning

Boot Camp feature for Thursday, April 6, 2006

The battle between cable companies and phone companies….is just beginning. Bloomberg Boot Camp, a report on today's technology. Cable companies in most markets, have already begun to compete with phone companies…by offering high speed Internet and telephone services. Phone companies …such as Verizon and AT&T are just beginning to return the favor… investing billions in fiber optic lines so they can sell TV services. They are trying to win statewide franchises….instead of having to go town by town to ask permission to compete with cable. They're also trying to convince Congress to go along with the idea of a national franchise. There are some who are arguing that if Congress does that….it should pass what is being called net neutrality legislation. There are differing definitions….but the essence is…it would force the phone companies to make their fiber optic lines open to all. AT&T chief executive Ed Whitacre …

"We need to add lanes. There are some people that say we shouldn't change the Internet from what it is today so that customers really don't have any choice. And certainly providers as well as the consumers are involved in it.."

AT&T is looking to buy BellSouth for 67 billion dollars…to help it compete in a world where communications includes video and Internet services. Whitacre says that competition will be good for consumers…

"Where it's happened, you know cable has lowered their price. That's all I know."

AT&T CEO Ed Whitacre. Bloomberg Boot Camp, I'm Fred Fishkin.