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CO: Suit by cities, counties may hinder Qwest cable TV goal

By saveaccess
Created 04/05/2007 - 9:03am

from: Denver Post [1]

Suit by cities, counties may hinder Qwest cable TV goal

By John Dunbar
The Associated Press
Article Last Updated: 04/03/2007 11:06:54 PM MDT

Washington - Local governments across the country went to court Tuesday to challenge federal rules intended to spur competition in the cable television industry.

Lawyers for organizations representing cities and counties asked the appeals courts to invalidate rules the Federal Communications Commission approved in December to smooth the way for new competitors who want to offer cable television service.

At issue is whether the agency overstepped its authority when it voted 3-2 to require local governments to speed the approval process for new competitors, cap fees paid by new entrants to local governments and ease requirements that competitors build systems that reach every home.

To offer cable television service, a company must negotiate a franchise agreement with the local government. Some companies have claimed some of those local governments have made unreasonable demands during negotiations.

Among the organizations that filed the challenge: the Alliance for Community Media, the National Association of Counties, the National League of Cities and the National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors.

The issue is important in Denver. Qwest has unsuccessfully tried to bypass local jurisdictions and obtain legislation that would support a statewide franchise agreement.

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