FCC votes to ease cable-franchise rules

Scoring a win after a tough week, FCC chairman Kevin Martin on Wednesday pushed through a bunch of rules designed to make it easier for telephone companies to offer video services. The 3-2 party line vote was expected, as was the vociferous opposition from the minority Democrat members. Up next: expect court battles to decide whether the rules (which include a 90-day deadline for local governments to grant franchises, and no requirements to “build out” services to all parts of a geographical region) are actually enforceable, since the FCC’s jurisdiction in the cable arena is legally sketchy, according to some in the game.

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