The New York State Legislature is currently hearing testimony about a bill that would foster competition between telco video providers and the incumbent cable companies. The main beneficiary in New York will be Verizon.
The deliberations pit the same interests that have participated in similar deliberations in Texas, New Jersey, California and other states. The cable industry wants the telcos to be subject to the same laws and processes that govern cable, telcos want to avoid both the process and local franchising fees, and consumers and legislators favor competition, expecting it will lead to lower prices.
New York already has a law that says franchise requests must be heard in 30 days, and granted providing they agree to the same terms and conditions agreed to by incumbent franchise holders.
Meanwhile, the Florida House was reported to have rejected changes to a state franchise bill now under consideration.
The proposed bill allows new franchise holders to offer satellite television or some other alternative technology to parts of a service area where it doesn’t want to install wires. An effort to remove the provision was defeated; the provision stays in the bill.
The deal favors the telcos. AT&T, for example, would like to be able to have the option to offer its Homezone service, which includes DBS video from partner EchoStar, rather than U-verse, which delivers video via AT&T’s own fiber/DSL networks.
The next step for the Florida bill is a final vote in the House. It would then go on to be considered by the Florida Senate.