Kevin Martin’s FCC is giving telco television a boost by passing new rules that are designed to speed up the local video franchising process. In other words, yet another sop to the telecoms, something Martin has been doing for pretty much his entire tenure. The rules say that the local governments have 90 days to make up their mind! The rules were passed by a 3-2 vote, with FCC commissioners voting along the party lines.
Martin points out that since cable rates are going up, the competition would be good for the consumers and telcos’ are spending billions on these new networks. Something tells me, competition is not the primary reason . Telecoms are expanding to video because they are losing their grip over the core business: voice.
No surprise, the telcos like it. Walter B. McCormick Jr., President and CEO of USTelecom, a lobbying/trade group was quick to issue a statement.
The Commission’s order is a critical step forward in bringing consumers greater choices, exciting new services and vibrant video competition. Across the country, large and small telecom service providers are spending billions of dollars investing in new infrastructure to deliver high-speed Internet and innovative video services to their communities.
Michael Copps, the Democratic commissioner isn’t buying it.
agreeing on the many benefits of video competition is hardly the same thing as coming up with rules that will actually encourage honest-to-goodness competition within the framework of the statutes that Congress has given us. The item before us today doesn’t get us there and I cannot support it as written.
Martin, by trying to supersede the local government is skating on thin ice. The political pressure from the local government extends right to Washington DC, and it won’t surprise me at all that this is going to have some Beltway types asking for Martin’s head.
The complete documents are available on the FCC website.