TN: Cable Compromise Fair and Protects Consumers

Posted on April 13, 2008 - 6:51am.

from: TN Municipal League

For Immediate Release Contact: Carole Graves (615) 255-6416
April 8, 2008 TML Communications Director

Cable Compromise Fair and Protects Consumers

The Tennessee Municipal League offered the following statement in response to the
“Competitive Cable & Video Services Act.”

The Tennessee Municipal League is appreciative of the efforts of Speaker Naifeh,
Chairman Curtiss, and Chairman Jones as well as the bill’s sponsors, Senator Ketron and
Representative McDaniel, and the other legislators involved to break the stalemate and
provide Tennesseans a choice in their cable provider without jeopardizing the rights and
protections afforded consumers under law or without harming Tennessee communities.

Cities remain steadfast in our belief that the local franchising process has worked for
nearly three decades and that the opportunity to compete is available to any cable or
telephone provider. However, most cities have come to the realization that the General
Assembly was intent on bringing the debate surrounding local franchising versus state
franchising to an end this year. TML is appreciative of having been afforded a seat at the
table and a voice in shaping this compromise legislation.

Tennessee’s cities and towns opposed last year’s bill because we believed it would have
been a win for big corporations, but at the expense of consumers and communities.
Through the efforts of Chairman Curtiss, Chairman Jones and the process provided by
Speaker Naifeh, this compromise provides a fair resolution and ensures that consumers
and communities won’t be road kill on the road to competition.

This bill is a compromise and any comprise is, by its very nature, imperfect. Cities won
our share of arguments but we also lost some arguments. Left to our own devices, this is
not the bill cities would have written, but the compromise offered today represents a
victory for Tennessee’s consumers.

Local governments welcome competition and support the benefits that consumers might
receive as a result of having another choice when selecting a cable television provider.
Our goal has always been to ensure every Tennessean, especially those in smaller cities
and towns and the more rural parts of this state, has access to quality cable or video
service at affordable prices.

We believe that the changes made with respect to build-out requirements and consumer
protections will prohibit “cherry-picking” or discrimination based on income or race and
offer more Tennesseans the opportunity to have a choice in cable providers. In addition,
the revisions made in the areas of customer service protections; local control of the public
rights of way; public, education and government channels; and the preservation of local
revenues have dramatically improved the bill.

The League supports the initiative to expand broadband into the underserved areas of the
rural parts of the state, and believe it will enhance the quality of life for Tennesseans, as
well as preserve and enhance economic development opportunities for our citizens.

We will continue to work with the Tennessee General Assembly to ensure a positive
outcome for all those involved.

Section by section summary - view summary

Summary of negotiated compromise - view summary

TML statement on compromise - view statement

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