Texas Bill Death Boosts TW, EchoStar


Time Warner Cable and EchoStar Communications are the likely beneficiaries of the death of a Texas bill that would have made it easier for telephone companies to get into the video business.

Telcos SBC Communications and Verizon had lobbied Texas legislators to let them offer video services without needing cable franchises for every town, an argument telcos are making on the national front as well.

Both companies are extensively rebuilding their phone systems to deliver cable and phone services over the same wire.

The process of negotiating with cities for franchises could slow the telcos' rollout for years.

Sanford Bernstein & Co cable analyst Craig Moffett says that would benefit Time Warner -- which serves Texas' biggest cities, Houston and Dallas.

It could also boost EchoStar, whose Dish Network is currently resold by SBC. Those sales have slowed as SBC has prepped to launch cable service, but if SBC is delayed, the telco could keep pushing EchoStar harder than expected.