TN: Tennessee Franchising Bill Aims To Extend Broadband Services

Posted on April 13, 2008 - 6:42am.

from: MultiChannel News

Tennessee Franchising Bill Aims To Extend Broadband Services
Proposal Would Assign Franchising Authority To State Regulators
by Linda Haugsted
Multichannel News
4/7/2008 12:59:00 PM

Legislators in Tennessee have been presented a new version of a state franchising bill with a unique scheme to incent new providers to extend broadband services.

The bill language, which has been the subject of negotiations among effected industries, contains broad build-out language. Large telephone companies that become video providers must deliver that service to 30% of their existing service area within 3 1/2 years.

But those companies can decrease the number of homes which get video if they deploy broadband services to areas that don't currently have such services, or areas that are determined to be undeserved.

According to the current version of the bill, local governments may also subsidize broadband deployment, if the Tennessee Regulatory Authority determines that there is no interest in the private sector to build plant locally.

The proposal would assign franchising authority to the TRA, which would approve 10-year franchises. That agency would also have the power to order credits from providers, in response to complaints from consumers.

Incumbent cable providers can opt to continue under their local agreements or to file for state authority.

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