Video Franchise Reform as a Broadband Driver

Sonia Arrison, Director of Technology Studies at the Pacific Research Institute, puts it all together in a piece looking at how the fight against franchise reform at local level hinders the very broadband competition these same communities say they want so badly. Moreover, “local control” has nothing do with PEG channels or “must-carry” and everything to do with squeezing as much as possible from the companies attempting to finance the most expensive part of the networkââ?¬â??the last mile. These concessions become abusive and detrimental to investment to both the cable and phone companies.

That local elected officials would take advantage of their power to grant exclusive rights to service a cable area is perhaps not surprising, but it is wrong nevertheless. For instance, one city requested that, in addition to other requirements, Verizon turn over a parking lot for use as free parking for a library. Another city requested free television for every “house of worship” and a 10 percent video discount for select customers. Yet another asked for a new recreation center and pool. Cable bills were shooting up every year partly because of these abuses of power, and now that it has been exposed, it’s time for serious reform.

Read all of Arrison’s column here.