Competitive Enterprise Institute | 1899 L ST NW Floor 12, Washington, DC 20036 | Phone: 202-331-1010 | Fax: 202-331-0640
Richard Morrison, 202.331.2273
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<?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />Washington, D.C., July 5, 2005—A new push for streamlining telecom regulation is coming from Congress. Bills were introduced last week in both the House and Senate that would help speed up introduction of Internet video service to consumers across the United States.
The bills attempt to standardize the process for phone companies desiring to offer video services over their broadband networks. These companies face the hurdle of more than 30,000 local franchise applications nationwide in order to compete against already-franchised cable-TV operators and satellite companies that were exempted from franchise requirements.
“Congress should be commended for addressing this issue,” said Competitive Enterprise Institute Technology Counsel Braden Cox. “A national rule that exempts existing franchisees from the franchise application process will give consumers more competition in the video market.”
Furthermore, local municipalities should take a hard look at whether franchising should be required for any company, be it a cable or phone company. In a world where voice, video, and data are served up on the same network, governments no longer need to negotiate service agreements on behalf of consumers. Governments should level the playing field by reducing regulatory barriers for all services, not regulating new services like the old.