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Local Franchising Fine, Says Cablevision - Broadcasting & Cable

Local Franchising Fine, Says Cablevision

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Cablevision said Tuesday that Verizon's latest local franchising deal--in Hempstead, N.Y.--demonstrates that there is no need for a national video-franchising law.

Such a law, which Verizon has pushed hard for, is being marked up in the House Commerce Committee Wednesday.

Verizon has been the most aggressive telco in rolling out video (its FiOS fiber optic service), but says it could roll out more quickly with help from the government; it points to the local franchising process as the bottleneck.

"Although we continue to believe that this franchise will let Verizon pick and choose which residents receive its new services," Cablevision said in a statement, "this approval demonstrates that it is not hard for the phone company to get local franchises if it participates in the process.

"Verizon should stop trying to change state and federal law and instead work with local governments.

"We will continue to deliver excellent products to our customers and will vigorously compete with the fourth provider of television service in the Town of Hempstead [including satellite and local broadcasters]."

The FCC has an open proceeding to consider whether the local franchising process is an impediment to the rollout out of video and high-speed Internet service, the latter a major government interest. The telephone industry insists it is, saying that it can sometimes add two years to the process, while the cable industry says it is no obstacle though it would prefer speeding the local process to establishing a national franchise system.

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