Friday, July 14, 2006

Increasing Cable Compitition, Lowering Prices For Consumers

The House has given final approval to a bill (HB 2047) that would deregulate cable television service in a move supporters hope will lead to new programming choices and lower rates. The House voted 111-5 to approve recent changes made by the Senate. Beginning Jan. 1, 2007, the measure would phase out local franchise agreements between cable providers and city and county governments. After that, any company that wants to provide pay television service over phone lines or broadband Internet can register with the Secretary of State’s Office. Traditional phone companies such as BellSouth lobbied heavily for the bill. All attempts to protect the consumers via amendments failed. The City of Greensboro was quite troubled by the bill as well at the AARP, NAACP, the NC Justice Center, and NC Public Interest Research Group. Similar legislation is being attempted at the federal level as well, which would preempt state authority.

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