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Verizon, SBC Lobby Congress on Video Services

Telecommunications firms Verizon and SBC Communications, which are preparing to launch Internet-based video services, argued for looser regulations for such expanded services at a hearing Wednesday before the House Subcommittee on Telecommunications -- "The FCC and Congress have so far employed a light-touch approach to regulating the Internet and IP-based services," testified SBC senior executive vice president Lee Ann Champion. "We are not building a cable network, nor do we have any interest in being a cable company offering traditional cable service. Instead, we intend to offer customers a new total communications experience." Later this year, Verizon plans to launch an Internet-based TV service called FiOS TV, which it hopes to offer to 3 million homes by the end of the year. It has already signed up NBC Universal and Starz to provide content for the service. SBC has invested $4 billion in its Project Lightspeed, which aims to deploy services including IPTV to 18 million households in 13 states within three years. The hearing on new technologies was scheduled as Congress examines new legislation that would update the Telecommunications Act of 1996 to account for new technologies.

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