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Hill leader seeks higher fines for Bells

Bell companies could face much higher fines for failing to allow competitors to connect to their phone networks under a bill introduced by House Commerce Telecommunications Subcommittee Chairman Fred Upton, R-Mich. At a debate Wednesday in the House Commerce Committee, Upton said he will hold hearings on the bill next week. The bill raises fines for a single incident to $1 million from $120,000, with a maximum fine of $10 million rather than $1 million. Commerce Committee Chairman Billy Tauzin, R-La., said he supports the bill and would seek to have it attached to the broadband bill he and Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., have introduced when that bill clears the Commerce Committee and appears on the House floor for a vote. Federal Communications Commission Chairman Michael Powell wrote Hill leaders earlier this week asking for larger fines.

Bell companies could face much higher fines for failing to allow competitors to connect to their phone networks under a bill introduced by House Commerce Telecommunications Subcommittee Chairman Fred Upton, R-Mich. At a debate Wednesday in the House Commerce Committee, Upton said he will hold hearings on the bill next week. The bill raises fines for a single incident to $1 million from $120,000, with a maximum fine of $10 million rather than $1 million.

Commerce Committee Chairman Billy Tauzin, R-La., said he supports the bill and would seek to have it attached to the broadband bill he and Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., have introduced when that bill clears the Commerce Committee and appears on the House floor for a vote. Federal Communications Commission Chairman Michael Powell wrote Hill leaders earlier this week asking for larger fines.

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