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Senate rejects universal access for video services

Senate Telecom bill in trouble as net neutrality hangs in the balance.

The Senate is trying to pass a major bill to allow phone companies to offer video services in competition with cable. But that doesn't mean phone companies will have to be any more responsive to underprivileged neighborhoods than cable has been.

An amendment, proposed by Sen. John Kerry, that would have required video providers to continue expanding television service in a community after they get 15 percent of that market, Reuters reports.

The Senate's version of a communications reform bill is expected to include the streamlining of video licensing, the modifying of universal telephone service funding, the pre-empting of certain state regulation of wireless and voice over Internet services, and the creating of an Internet consumer bill of rights.

It's not clear, though, according to Reuters, whether the bill will pass this session - because to the contentious issue of net neutrality. If the Senate does approve a communications bill, the two chambers have relatively little time left to reconcile both versions before the November election, Reuters says.