Thousands of jobs at stake, ISPs say
The telecom industry will lose about 77,000 telecom and high-tech jobs if HR1542, The Internet Freedom and Broadband Deployment Act of 2001, becomes law, a coalition of ISPs and telecom companies said in a letter to House Speaker Dennis Hastert. The group urged Hastert not to take the bill to the House floor.
The letter was signed by 106 CEOs, including EarthLink Inc.'s Garry Better; Covad Communications' Charles Hoffman; Sprint's William T. Esrey; and Larissa Herda with Time Warner Telecom.
The letter says the companies have spent tens of billions of dollars to build competitive networks and take services to the market. "Collectively, we are the engines of the New Economy," it says. The legislation jeopardizes the companies' ability to raise funds to develop, build and operate the high-speed networks, the add.
The letter urges "any further consideration of this legislation cease and, instead, that Congress insist that the pro-competition provisions of the 1996 (Telecommunications) Act be enforced."
Proponents say the legislation would eliminate thousands of independent ISPs and the jobs those companies provide.