The Bell Tolls for Local Franchising

Broadband Reports has news:

The FCC made changes to cable franchise rules last year which prevent “local franchising authorities from unreasonably refusing to award competitive cable franchises”. Those changes have faced an ongoing battle in court by various city and state franchising agencies which argued that the FCC had usurped their power when changing the rules. The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled yesterday that the FCC was within its authority to make those changes. FCC Chief Kevin Martin issued a statement about the ruling saying that he was glad that the court had recognized the fact that the new rules are pro-customer, reducing delays in cable service provision and increasing competitive pricing in the market.

It is rare that we here in the Technology and Regulation department at the Competitive Enterprise Institute stand by the FCC, but in this case, kudos to Chairman Martin! Local franchising has been stifling cable competition for years, leading to our country’s decline in international broadband rankings. It is time for the federal government to stop local governments from creating monopolies and outlawing competition in the cable market. The Sixth Circuit’s ruling will allow the government to do so. Freedom is more important than federalism.