SBC Communications has won a big round in the House as that body easily gives preliminary approval to the so-called broadband bill. The bill would allow SBC, the old Southwestern Bell, to offer high-speed Internet access without undergoing state Public Service Commission regulation. Sponsor Tom Dempsey of St. Charles says the state should provide the environment SBC needs to invest the millions of dollars to offer the service. Representative Blaine Luetkemeyer of St. Elizabeth questions the assertion. Primarily cable companies, which Dempsey says have 70-percent of the market right now and are not subject to state regulation. Dempsey says the bill would allow SBC to offer competition to those cable companies which offer high-speed Internet access. The bill needs another favorable vote in the House to move to the Senate.
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