Comment on California’s Approval of Video Franchise Reform (A.B. 2987)

Published September 6, 2006

(Chicago, Illinois – September 6, 2006) On August 30, the California Senate passed the Digital Infrastructure and Video Competition Act of 2006, also known as A.B. 2987.

Steven Titch, The Heartland Institute’s senior fellow for telecom and information technology, praised the new measure as “a big win for everybody.” You may quote from his comments below in part or in full. If you have any questions about The Heartland Institute or would like to arrange an interview with Titch please contact Michael Van Winkle at 312/377-4000. Titch can be reached directly by email at [email protected].

The California Senate’s 33-4 vote in favor of statewide cable franchising sweeps away an obsolete, time-consuming regulatory process and, in one fell swoop, throws open the door for cable competition in all communities in the Golden State.

Alongside the Assembly’s unanimous vote for franchise reform in May, the move is nothing short of a legislative mandate for cable choice.

Rather than negotiate piecemeal with each and every municipality, new entrants will be able to move quickly into local markets throughout the state, bringing lower rates, more choices, and new technologies consumers want, such as fiber-to-the-home and Internet Protocol TV.

The California legislature also wisely included a provision to allow cable companies to opt into the statewide franchising system. This will help maintain a level regulatory playing field as the former telephone and cable industries merge to create a broader competitive sector for integrated phone, television, and Internet services.

California’s overwhelming support for franchise reform provides greater momentum for similar measures pending in statehouses across the country. It is a big win for everyone who’s been impatiently waiting for more options in video.