Cable should be happy with the franchising bills currently winding through Congress…at least for now. But the industry’s chief lobbyist cautioned that cable should not let its guard down, warning that several damaging amendments still could be attached to Sen Ted Stevens (R-AK) bill. "If I knew I could get a bill with good voice and video provisions without the bad stuff, I’d be all for it," NCTA pres/CEO Kyle McSlarrow told CableFAX in an exclusive interview Fri. The House bill’s video and voice provisions, "ended up in a pretty good place for us. Everything we wanted on voice, we got into that bill. Everything." Still, McSlarrow is stopping short of actually supporting franchising legislation this year because of the fear of damaging amendments, like multicasting, a la carte, universal service and, of course, net neutrality. "We finished in a good place in the House, started in a good place in the Senate, but we’ve got a lot of days left," McSlarrow said. He was particularly pleased with the net neutrality language in Stevens’ bill that would have the FCC study the market and make recommendations to Congress. McSlarrow says the chances are good that a bill will be passed this year, though he acknowledges, "everything’s got to hit right." The NCTA chief believes Stevens is trying to get his bill to the Senate floor in July or September. "The clock’s ticking here," he said. "If this can be done, it’s got to be done quickly." — On the Docket: Sen Commerce has a press briefing planned for this morning at 10am to discuss revisions made to Sen Stevens’ bill. A hearing is scheduled for Tues, with McSlarrow set to testify. McSlarrow tells us that he has heard that the scheduled June 20, markup will be pushed back, possibly until after the July 4 recess.

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