Cable Claims Plenty of Competition

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In a filing with the FCC on the state of video competition, the National Cable & Telecommunications Association argues that there is plenty of video competition, thank you, and that telcos should not get special treatment when it comes to securing video franchises.

There is pressure to let telcos bypass franchise regs to boost price competition to cable and the rollout of broadband generally. Texas has passed a state law to that effect, and there are at least two bills in Congress that would either make getting franchises easier for telcos or get rid of the franchise process entirely.

NCTA argues that it already has vigorous competition from two DBS services, and faces even more from "well-financed" telcos. If the franchise process is to be eased, it argues, it should be eased for everyone, not just the phone companies, which it says are hardly small fries in need of the government's sheltering wing.

"It is neither necessary nor appropriate to favor a competitor by giving it unfair regulatory advantages in a marketplace that is already characterized by competition," said NCTA. "This is especially inappropriate in the case of incumbent telephone companies who are well financed and already enjoy advantages such as extensive ownership of utility poles and preexisting consumer relationships."

The filing was part of the FCC's annual assessment of competition in the delivery of video programming.

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