[Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: William J. Clinton (1995, Book II)]
[August 1, 1995]
[Page 1191]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office www.gpo.gov]

Statement on Proposed Telecommunications Reform Legislation
August 1, 1995

    My administration is committed to enactment of a telecommunications 
reform bill in this Congress. Such legislation is needed to stimulate 
investment, promote competition, provide open access to information 
networks, strengthen and improve universal service, and provide for 
flexible regulations for this important industry. Consumers should 
receive the benefits of lower prices, better quality, and greater 
choices in their telephone and cable services, and they should continue 
to benefit from a diversity of voices and viewpoints in radio, 
television, and the print media.
    Unfortunately, H.R. 1555, as reported by the Commerce Committee and 
amended by the managers' amendment, does not reach any of these goals. 
Instead of promoting investment and competition, it promotes mergers and 
concentration of power. Instead of promoting open access and diversity 
of content and viewpoints, it would allow fewer people to control 
greater numbers of television, radio, and newspaper outlets in every 
    H.R. 1555 with the managers' amendment would:
    --allow a single owner to acquire television stations that can reach 
50 percent of the Nation;
    --allow the acquisition of an unlimited number of radio stations in 
every community and across the Nation;
    --repeal the newspaper/broadcast and broadcast/cable cross-ownership 
bans that currently exist;
    --permit the Bell Operating Companies to offer long distance service 
before there is real competition in local service, with less-than-
minimum structural safeguards and without requiring a determination by 
the Department of Justice that entry will not impede competition;
    --allow an excessive number of in-region buyouts between telephone 
companies and cable operators, substituting consolidation for 
competition and leaving consumers in rural areas and small towns with no 
rate protection in most cases and no foreseeable expectation of 
    --deregulate cable programming services and equipment rates before 
cable operators face real competition and without providing any consumer 
protection provision after deregulation;
    --preempt the States from implementing certain rate regulation 
schemes and opening their local phone markets to certain types of 
competition as they choose; and
    --not include the V-chip proposal the Senate adopted.
    The cumulative effect of these provisions would be to harm 
competition and to weaken the benefits to the public. If H.R. 1555 with 
the managers' amendment is sent to me without deletion or revision of a 
significant number of these provisions I will be compelled to veto it in 
the best interests of the public and our national economic well-being.