GA: AT$T gearing up for video service in Georgia

Posted on June 24, 2007 - 9:38am.

from: Times Free Press

AT&T gearing up for video service in Georgia
Thursday, June 21, 2007, at 3:36 p.m.
By Matt Wilson
Staff Writer

An AT&T spokesman said his company is developing plans to offer video service that competes with cable in Georgia.

A new state law that will allow providers to negotiate state-issued franchises is about to go into effect.

"We are evaluating our business plans for competition in Georgia," said Ted Wagnon, a spokesman for AT&T, the leading company behind the new law that allows video providers to avoid negotiating franchises with local governments.

The new law goes into effect on July 1, but state will not begin issuing franchises to companies until Jan. 1, according to a spokeswoman from the Georgia secretary of state's office.

Nancy Horne, president of the Cable Television Association of Georgia, which represents Comcast and Charter cable systems in Northwest Georgia, said existing cable TV service providers were ready for the new law's provisions.

"We're already in a pretty competitive marketplace," she said. "I'm sure there will be additional competitors coming in and we're ready to face that competition."

Ms. Horne said each individual company is considering for itself whether to continue negotiating franchises with local governments or whether to go through the state.

Gov. Sonny Perdue signed the video franchising bill into law last month.

In Georgia, the only vocal opposition to the franchising bill came from operators of public, educational and governmental access channels in larger cities, who said it would cause some channels to shut down.

Under the new law, three PEG channels will be allowed on cable systems under state franchises that serve markets of 50,000 people or more.

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( categories: AT&T | GEORGIA | State Franchises )