Need. More. TV. sez PFF

The Progress and Freedom Foundation’s Scott Wallsten notes the urgency of franchise reform as the path to greater broadband access and availability. The FCC’s recent order on the issue, as well as nearly every commentary on the subject, recognizes the problems created by legacy franchise monopoly power granted in the telecommunications industry. But ultimately, all providers–cable, telco, satellite and whatever emerges (video over power lines?) in the future–are going to benefit from a regime in which they are busy building infrastructure rather than running around seeking permissions of every sort from bureaucrats. There is a very limited amount for governments to do in this regard: anything else is needless interference. As Wallsten summed it up:

“While cities understandably want oversight over some aspects of installing this infrastructure, such as digging up neighborhood streets, there is no economic rationale for local franchising of video services. The need to obtain a franchise represents little more than a barrier to entry.”