Indiana passes statewide video franchise law

Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels signed a franchising-reform bill that enables new competitors to get statewide operating authority within 30 days of application. With this law, franchising is now passed from city officials' hands to the Utility Regulatory Commission. The bill differs from those in other states in that it will allow incumbent operators to decide, after July 1, whether they want to opt out of local agreements and seek state licensing. All providers will have to pay 5 percent franchise fees. Incumbents, whether or not they are state-licensed, will have to continue institutional-network support until the end of their franchises or 2008, whichever term is longer. Indiana has joined Texas as the only other state in the U.S. to allow statewide video franchising. Virginia last week passed a law that expedites the video franchise application process but still leaves the ultimate decision to local municipalities.

For more on Indiana's new law:
- read this Multichannel News article
- check out this article from TV Week