An Open Letter to Congress: Franchise Reform

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The current, but outdated, franchise regulations were designed for a monopoly environment.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.



Braden Cox

Technology Counsel

Competitive Enterprise Institute


Karen Kerrigan

President and CEO

Small Business & Entrepreneurship



Harry C. Alford

President and CEO

National Black Chamber of Commerce


Larry Irving & Bruce Mehlman


Internet Innovation Alliance


Jim Martin


60 Plus


George Landrith


Frontiers of Freedom


J. William Lauderback

Executive Vice President

American Conservative Union


Grover Norquist


Americans for Tax Reform