Last updated: February 21, 2008 - 6:22am
TELCO FIRMS SCORING AT THE STATE LEVEL
[SOURCE: Technology Daily, AUTHOR: Michael Martinez]
The Democratic takeover of Congress may have complicated the federal lobbying plans of large telephone companies -- but 2007 appears to be going well for them at the state level thus far. Missouri lawmakers this week cleared legislation to speed the entry of telephone companies into the state's video market, and similar video-franchising rules changes are pending in about a half-dozen other states. Meanwhile, Verizon Communications joined forces with Comcast in Maryland to block a requirement that high-speed Internet providers make information about the deployment of their services publicly available. Ben Scott, policy director of the advocacy group Free Press, said the deciding factor on franchising has been the cable companies. "From the 10,000-foot perspective, where cable has been fighting, there has been a battle," he said. "Where they're not, legislation is moving." Scott said the state-level legislative battles have become particularly important as companies expand their business models to include broadband, telephone and video services. He is concerned that not enough is being done to ensure that services are offered in low-income and rural neighborhoods.
ILLINOIS CITIES LINING UP TO FIGHT STATE CONTROL OF CABLE TV
[SOURCE: CourierNewsOnline, AUTHOR: Steve Lord & Heather Gillers]
City officials from around Illinois are traveling to Springfield to testify at hearings on House Bill 1500, known as the Cable and Video Competition Law of 2007. The bill would end local franchise agreements for cable television and any other telecommunications video service and make the cable business regulated by the state instead. Companies would apply to the Illinois Commerce Commission, instead of local village boards, city councils or county boards for a franchise to serve anywhere in the state. Supporters say the bill would force video providers to compete by taking away exclusive local franchises, thus lowering prices to consumers. With the state awarding franchises, there is more clout to force video providers to serve everyone, including low-income customers. Opponents say the bill will obliterate local control, not just over customer service but over local rights of way. Companies no longer would have to get a permit to build in public places. Of more concern to local officials is that House Bill 1500 would give companies limited eminent domain power.
* Locals Fight AT&T Franchise Push in Illinois
* For more see http://www.keepusconnected.org/
AT&T WILL OFFER VIDEO SERVICES
[SOURCE: The Kansas City Star, AUTHOR: Jason Gertzen & David Hayes]
AT&T has committed to spend $247 million rolling out its version of cable television and high-speed Internet services under the â€œU-verseâ€ brand to portions of 10 Kansas communities, including Overland Park, Leawood, Lenexa and Mission Hills. It is not yet available in Missouri, though AT&T executives have said they eventually would spend at least $100 million in that state. The Kansas City area marks the 15th metropolitan community to receive the new AT&T services.
* AT&T Flips on U-verse TV in K.C.