Cable Deregulated: Here Come The Telcos

October 9th, 2006 |
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SAN FRANCISCO, October 9, 2006 (PodTech News) — California just gave telephone companies what they wanted – a big piece of the video franchise pie. An assembly bill that Governor Schwarzenegger signed into law September 29th makes a fundamental change in the way video services can be offered to consumers. AB 2987 creates videofranchises on a statewide scale instead of a local one. This change allows phone companies to compete with cable operators in the race to roll out next-generation video services to consumers. Catherine Girardeau has the story.

REPORTER’S NOTES: Neither Assembly Speaker Fabian Nuñez, who introduced the bill to the state assembly, nor co-author Assembly Member Lloyd Levine were available to comment for this report, but it’s likely the bill will result in some “clean-up legislation” in the next year. Brian Moura, Assistant City Manager in San Carlos, said he’d attended a meeting on the bill after this story went to press, and that the legislators listened to his concern that cities would lose their ability to use the cable system for community emergency alerts. Moura’s expecting that will be one of the areas requiring new legislation to fix flaws in AB 2987. Gigaom’s Om Malik, back in June, had a post that provides some background on the story. I talked with Bill Kula, a Verizon PR guy, for this story, but couldn’t fit his comments in. But the upshot is that Verizon was the other major supporter of AB 2987. They’ve rolled out fiber optic networks in several states, and FiOS is also coming to California.

— Catherine Girardeau

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