Franchise bill passes House, moves to Senate

The U.S. House of Representatives has passed a telecom bill that would eliminate the need for telecom companies to get permission from every individual municipality to offer video services. The bill now goes to the Senate, where much of the debate is focused on a Net Neutrality amendment that the House threw out. Most experts say the franchise law is likely to pass in some form.

Critics of the franchise bill, mostly the cable television industry, say the bill will allow telecom companies to cherry-pick the wealthiest neighborhoods for its services and ignore the low-income neighborhoods. Local municipalities, reportedly, have done a good job of policing the cable operators and others on the cherry-picking front, and now they want a level playing field. The national law would put the FCC in charge of policing new entrants' exclusive targeting and industry pundits say the FCC isn't up to the challenge.

For more on the national franchise bill:
- read this article from US News & World Report