An Open Letter to Congress: Franchise Reform

An Open Letter to Congress: Franchise Reform

November 08, 2005

Dear Member of Congress:

Much has changed in the decade since Congress passed the 1996 Telecommunications Act. As Congress is considering changes and updates to this landmark legislation, we would like to remind you of the urgent need for reform of franchise regulations. Competitors are eager to use new technology to bring Americans a wide range of video services over the Internet, called IPTV. Not only can this technology offer needed competition to the television services offered by the cable companies, but it also can improve health care in rural and urban America, provide educational resources for students and parents and bring lower-cost broadband access to small and midsize companies.

The current, but outdated, franchise regulations were designed for a monopoly environment. New entrants to these markets are stymied not by technology or lack of consumer interest, but rather by the requirement to negotiate franchise agreements in more than 33,000 municipalities across the country. Whatever changes you make to the Telecom Act, please ensure that you recognize the importance of reforming franchise regulations so consumers will benefit from the lower prices, better customer service, and innovations competition will bring to this market.

Sincerely,

 

Braden Cox

Technology Counsel

Competitive Enterprise Institute

 

Karen Kerrigan

President and CEO

Small Business & Entrepreneurship

Council

 

Harry C. Alford

President and CEO

National Black Chamber of Commerce

 

Larry Irving & Bruce Mehlman

Co-Chairs

Internet Innovation Alliance

 

Jim Martin

President

60 Plus

 

George Landrith

President

Frontiers of Freedom

 

J. William Lauderback

Executive Vice President

American Conservative Union

 

Grover Norquist

President

Americans for Tax Reform