Top execs from the entertainment, cable and telephone industries will be meeting with Vice President Al Gore today and Friday for briefings on the White House information superhighway road map.The meetings are the latest in a series of Clinton administration initiatives seeking private sector input on an ambitious plan to create a seamless web of communications networks for all Americans. To reach that goal, Congress will need to relax or eliminate a host of telecommunications laws and regulations, some of which have been in effect for 60 years. Among those expected to attend the meetings are the CEOs from the seven regional Bell Operating Companies: AT&T chairman Robert Allen, Time-Warner topper Gerald Levin, the Disney Channel prez John Cooke, Black Entertainment Television honcho Robert Johnson, Comcast Corp. president Brian Roberts, Discovery Communications head John Hendricks and U.S. Satellite Broadcasting prez Stanley Hubbard. ‘Summit’ at UCLA Gore and many of the execs are expected to attend a daylong “Superhighway Summit” Tuesday at UCLA. Public interest advocates have also been invited, and are expected to insist that poor and rural Americans have access to the information highways as well as the rich. One proposal includes “universal access” would require companies providing programming on the networks to pay into a fund that bankrolls the cost of extending superhighways to the poor. Gore, who’s serving as point man for the White House infopike plan, is skedded to make a major address at the UCLA confab, unveiling specifics of the legislative package that the administration hopes will be passed by Congress this year.
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