The massive telecommunications bill passed by the House of Representatives Thursday now moves on to the Senate.

Although the measure breezed through the House on a 321-101 vote, its prospects in the Senate were unclear Friday.

A major provision of the bill is that it makes it easier for major phone companies to offer cable television service; however, the New York Times said the cable industry and smaller telcos have stronger support in the Senate. At the same time, Senate rules make it easier for a small contingent of lawmakers to thwart legislation.

The White House has publicly declared its support for the House bill, and The Times noted that virtually every lobbying firm on K Street has been enlisted to cajole senators by the telecom, cable and high-tech industries.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International