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.
Steven Titch served as a policy analyst at Reason Foundation from 2004 to 2013.