Opponents of Video Franchise Plan Demonstration in Michigan

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Opponents of Michigan state video franchise reform legislation being pushed by telcos plan to hold a demonstration in Lansing Tuesday.

The Savetheinterent.com coalition says it will hold a press conference at the State Capitol and deliver 18,000 petitions to the Michigan State Senators calling on them to oppose the Michigan Video Franchising Bill, which will make it easier for telcos to secure video franchises in the state.

The petitions support net neutrality and ask the legislators to "defend the future of the Internet for Michigan residents and businesses," according to the coalition.

The coalition is a diverse group that includes Free Press, Gun Owners of America and Hollywood producers and writers (The Center for Creative Voices in Media). They argue that the Michigan bill--and similar ones pending and already passed--do not contain sufficient incentives to build out networks to poorer and underserved communities and they givetelcos too much control over broadband access.

Telcos counter that the bills streamline a cumbersome local franchising process that impedes the rollout of new broadband service. They say they need to be able to offer differentiated broadband services, but that they aren't blocking access to Web sites, and that the FCC already has the power to prevent such service discrimination.

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