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Don't Expect Telecom Reform In '05, VON Panelists Say

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Waiting for telecom regulation reform in 2005? Don't hold your breath.

That was the warning from several panelists participating in Monday's telecom regulatory track at the Spring VON 2005 show
here at the San Jose Convention Center. According to Beltway insiders, conflicts between politicians -- even those in the same party -- may further delay the already complicated process of drafting new telecom legislation.

"I don't see it coming in this Congress, which means in the next two years," said Jason Mahler, chief of staff for California Democratic congresswoman Anna Eshoo, who is on the House Energy and Commerce committee.

While acknowledging that most industry and government telecom insiders agree that the current statutes are ineffective for the digital world of 2005, Mahler said conflicts between new Senate Commerce committee chairman Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) and Joe Barton (R-Texas), his counterpart at the House Energy and Commerce committee, will require time to resolve, stalling any congress-wide agreement.

"Chairman Barton is from Mars and Stevens is from Venus," quipped Mahler.

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