House Subcommittee favors IPTV franchise bill

The video franchising debate moved forward last week when a House of Representatives subcommittee overhauled the Communications Opportunity, Promotion, and Enhancement Act of 2006. Unlike the cable companies, incumbent telcos have sought to bypass local franchise authorities to roll out their IPTV services. The new bill gives IPTV new-entrants (telcos) a 10-year, automatically renewable license on a national basis, without build-out requirements. The bill also includes provisions for cablecos to flexibly respond to the competition. It moves next to the full Committee on Energy and Commerce under chairman Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX). Barton has already given the bill a green light and expects it to pass through the House with GOP support from Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL). The controversial bill has received mixed reaction from industry groups--the National Cable Telecommunications Association is pleased, but CompTel is disappointed.

For more on the video franchising development:
- go to Telecom Web's article

PLUS: In an interview with BusinessWeek, FCC chief Kevin Martin talks about lifting barriers so telephone companies can bring video to consumers. Article