Monday, August 28, 2006

Telcos Lobby CA: $19.7 Million in 3 Months

The push for a statewide video franchise

As California prepares to vote on whether to give the baby bells a statewide video franchise, the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Verizon & AT&T have spent a whopping $19.7 million, or $200,000 per day to influence the vote. A statewide franchise would exclude telcos from localized laws that require cable operators to build out to broad portions of communities.
"AT&T led the way by spending nearly $18 million on lobbyists; television, radio and newspaper advertising; wining and dining lawmakers at the Monterey Bay Aquarium; and Lakers basketball tickets for the chairwoman of the Senate committee that held hearings on the legislation, records show."
Despite consumer group (and of course cable company) opposition to the measure, "the legislation has yet to receive a single "no" vote during committee and floor votes," the paper observes. Final votes are expected on the bill this week.