The State Video-Franchise Bill Report Card
Posted on May 30, 2007 - 9:02pm.
from: Telecom Web
Update: The State Video-Franchise Bill Report Card
With the first half of 2007 nearly over, the scorecard for state video-franchise legislation stands at four and four. Florida became the latest state to enact such rules, with Gov. Charlie Crist signing that state's bill into law late last week.
Missouri, Iowa and Georgia have passed similar legislation, but those bills still await the governors' signatures. The list of states with new video-franchising rules in place also includes California, Texas, Kansas, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Indiana, New Jersey, Michigan and Florida.
But along with victory, there's defeat. According to TelecomWeb news break's sister publication CableFAX Daily, two states - Utah and Colorado - voted down bills in committee this year. That's somewhat unique because most of last year's failed legislation stemmed from lawmakers running out of time, says Rick Cimerman, vice president/state and government affairs at the National Cable and Telecommunications Association. Two other states also have failed to pass legislation, with Washington tabling a bill to potentially take it up next year and Idaho's sponsor withdrawing legislation (all of the defeats took place in Qwest territory).
The score for defeats actually bumps up to five if you include Minnesota, which seems to be keeping legislation permanently in committee, says Cimerman. Eight states, primarily in AT&T territory, still have bills on the front burner: Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Tennessee and Wisconsin. Tennessee appears the least likely to pass a bill this year, because its General Assembly only has about a month left but several big pieces of legislation to take up--including the budget and Gov. Phil Bredesen's cigarette-tax increase. The state's Senate Commerce Committee is slated to take the bill up this week.
Another state worth watching is Pennsylvania. In October 2006, the sponsors of the state franchising bills dropped the legislation but they now appear prepared to reintroduce the measures. One state senator who was not an original sponsor last year plans to introduce a bill that would create a statewide franchising law under the auspices of the Public Utility Commission.
As things stand now, AT&T has more territory covered by state franchises, but Verizon, which has applied for local franchises, has a significant lead in video customers. Verizon reported 348,000 subscribers at the end of 1Q07, while AT&T reported 20,000.
As summer approaches, 2007 reveals that some states have adopted new statewide video-franchise legislation, others have postponed, and some have voted against state legislation (select the state link to view the legislation).
States with new statewide video-franchise laws:
States voting down statewide franchise bills:
States postponing statewide franchise legislation:
States with statewide franchise bills on deck:
New video competition statistics by video subscribers, as of first quarter 2007 (in nine states):
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