Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Verizon, SBC IPTV (and Muni Ban) Setback

Texas 'single franchise' bill stumbles
In order to speed up their deployment of IPTV services (and eliminate having to haggle with towns and cities), SBC and Verizon are trying to eliminate the local TV franchise concept, instead writing laws that would pass single, state-wide franchise provisions. Their attempt to do so in Texas has not gone as planned, their State bill failing to gain approval. "Competition for video services will occur much slower without a statewide video franchise," warns a regional Verizon president. (It would have been slow anyway; they still need to build the network).

Victory... first round. (From SaveMuniWireless)
The Texas Legislature has declared sine die: the session is over. HB 789 is dead. Texas has turned its back on special interest legislation to ban muni networks.

There were some tense moments after the conference committee adjourned. The phone company lobbyists refused to admit defeat and continued pushing for their legislation. Now, however, it's beyond the reach of even the powerful telco lobby.

So, we win—for now.

Although we prevailed this time, the struggle continues. Our challenge is to turn this debate around. Rather than battling special interest legislation, we need to develop a true broadband policy that serves the interest of Texas.

Thanks to everybody who has supported us and helped to achieve this remarkable victory. Please stay tuned. There is an awful lot of work to do.