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Director-Legislative and Public Relations
Passage of HR 5252, the Communications Opportunity, Promotion, and Enhancement (COPE) Act of 2006 will bring countless video consumers a customer-focused alternative to decades of double-digit cable television rate increases.
Madison, Wis. – This afternoon, the United States House of Representatives, in decisive and bi-partisan fashion, delivered an overwhelming victory for residential consumers who enjoy video entertainment services by passing HR 5252, the Communications Opportunity, Promotion, and Enhancement (COPE) Act of 2006.
The following statement can be attributed to David A. Wittwer, Chief Operating Officer for TDS Telecommunications Corporation:
“TDS Telecom welcomes passage of HR 5252, the Communications Opportunity, Promotion, and Enhancement (COPE) Act of 2006. We sincerely appreciate the hard work put forward by House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Joe Barton (6th-TX), co-author and committee member Representative Bobby Rush (1st-IL) and Telecommunications Subcommittee Chairman Fred Upton (6th-MI) to bring this important video competition matter to a successful legislative conclusion.
“Today’s decisive legislative action begins the federal video franchise reform process that will result a new series of telecommunication carriers’ economic investments that will unleash widespread video competition in countless communities across this country. Consumers should be proud of the legislative efforts put forward by the House Energy and Commerce Committee membership to ensure US House adoption of this measure.
“Additionally, TDS Telecom is thrilled with passage of the Gutknecht-Stupak amendment, offered on behalf of the Congressional Rural Caucus. Representative Gil Gutknecht (1st-MN) and Representative Bart Stupak (1st-MI) recognize the importance of protecting and preserving the federal Universal Service fund and ensuring rural telecommunications carriers are adequately compensated for the use of our high-cost networks. To that end, the Gutknecht-Stupak amendment protects consumers — it mandates all carriers, including those who use Voice-over-Internet-Protocol (VoIP) to transmit traffic, contribute into the federal Universal Service fund and pay network owners legitimate costs for the transmission of telecommunications traffic.
“Representatives Gutknecht and Stupak are familiar with the future opportunities video choices will provide our nation’s telecommunications consumers. They willingly took the time and exerted the political energy necessary to ensure rural America is included in these exciting technological developments and carriers who take the business risk to deploy next generation telecommunications services are adequately compensated for making those difficult, high-cost investments.
“TDS Telecom is optimistic the resounding consumer victory observed in the United States House of Representatives today will give the United States Senate the added momentum to delve further into reforming the federal Universal Service fund while streamlining the federal video franchise process. We encourage the US Senate to move quickly to address telecommunications reform yet this year.”
TDS Telecom, a growing national company headquartered in Madison, Wis., brings high-quality, locally based telecommunications services to hundreds of rural and suburban communities across the United States. The company, along with its subsidiary TDS Metrocom, provides service for more than 1.2 million access line equivalents. Visit http://www.tdstelecom.com for more information.
TDS Telecom is part of the Telephone and Data Systems, Inc. (AMEX: TDS) family of companies. TDS is a diversified telecommunications corporation founded in 1969. Through its strategic business units, U.S. Cellular (AMEX: USM) and TDS Telecom, TDS operates primarily by providing wireless and local telecommunications service. The company currently employs approximately 11,600 people and serves approximately 6.4 million customers in 36 states.