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V. Conclusion

The local cable television bottleneck is growing increasingly acute. In fact, it is worse in a fundamental way than that of the local telephone company monopoly, for the telephone company operates as a common carrier, serving all without regard to content. While we may eventually have an unlimited fiber optic cable system into the home, that reality will come about well into the next century. Leased access has always held out the promise of loosening, even if to a small extent, the bottleneck -- of permitting access to the majority of U.S. television homes by a voice different from that of the cable operator. This was the promise of 1974 and the hope in 1984. Unless steps are taken now to remedy the failure of the current leased access scheme, we will have the same situation in 1994 and 2004. The First Amendment dictates that leased access should not mean "least access."