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WI: Reject cable legislation

By saveaccess
Created 07/27/2007 - 9:48pm

from: Capital Times [1]

Reject cable legislation

An editorial — 7/27/2007 10:16 am

After months of revelations about the back room political dealing, the big-money lobbying and the deceptive claims that have characterized the campaign by out-of-state telecommunications companies to undermine the ability of citizens to regulate local cable television service, the Wisconsin State Journal has taken the side of out-of-state firms over that of Wisconsin communities and consumers.

That's frightening because legislators might be inclined to think the State Journal would take seriously communications policy. But the newspaper has not done that.

The State Journal says, "The Legislature should send the video competition bill to the governor's desk soon after the state budget is finished. The bipartisan bill would encourage telephone company AT&T and others to enter the cable TV picture and hustle for customers against traditional providers such as Charter Communications."

Hustle? AT&T crafted the legislation in collaboration with its allied legislators. The corporation won't be hustling. It will be playing by rules it put in place in order to make the most money from the most people with the least hassle.

That's not hustling. That's profiteering.

And the only explanation for why the editors of the State Journal, whom we respect for their integrity if not their research skills, could reach the conclusion they have is if they got hustled.

Legislators should dismiss the State Journal's advocacy on behalf of AT&T and listen instead to the Center for Media & Democracy, the Citizens Utility Board of Wisconsin, the North Shore Cable Commission (Milwaukee area), the Regional Telecommunications Commission (greater Metropolitan Milwaukee area), the Wisconsin Association of PEG Channels (WAPC), the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, the Wisconsin League of Women Voters, the Wisconsin Public Interest Research Group (WISPIRG), and experts such as Barry Orton, a professor of telecommunication at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Cynthia J. Laitman, a visiting professor of communication studies at Edgewood College:

"Our review of the proposed legislation, as well as our meetings with independent analysts at the state and national levels, leaves us with no doubt that the Video Competition Act steers the state in precisely the wrong direction when it comes to communications policy."

Legislators should reject the advice of those who are lobbying for the bill and move quickly to reject this corrupt and corrupting proposal.

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