Competition is better

The opponents of video franchise reform are doing their best to point to everything but the obvious. Local governments must retain control of the video franchise because without it: * The city or town loses a valuable revenue stream; * The city or town need to protect right-of-way; * The city or town needs a say in local programming. Local administrators are going as far as halting DSL infrastructure upgrades because telephone companies plan to use them to offer cable TV-like services. The DuPage (County, Ill.) Mayors and Managers Conference memoed member governments urging them to halt AT&T network upgrades until the franchise fee issues could be ironed out. Roselle, Ill., is one community that followed through, slapping a 180-moratorium order on AT&T’s Project Lightspeed deployment in the western Chicago suburb. But all this hand-wringing fails to trump one obvious fact: cable prices drop when competitors enter the market.