& cplSiteName &

Video Franchise Gains Steam in DC

Light Reading
News Analysis
Light Reading

The idea of a national video franchise got another push this week, Light Reading has learned. Sources in Washington say a House floor vote on Rep. Joe Barton’s national video franchise legislation is already being planned, a strong sign of the bill's momentum.

Barton’s bill, called the Communications Opportunity, Promotion, and Enhancement Act of 2006 (COPE), will be marked up and voted on in full committee next week, probably Wednesday. The bill passed the House Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet by a margin of 24-7 April 5. (See House Continues to Move on Video Franchise Reform and Barton Bill to Boost Telco Video.)

”The overwhelming bipartisan vote in the House subcommittee is a clear sign that Congress is eager to eliminate the barriers to video competition that have resulted in higher prices for consumers,” AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) spokesman Mike Balmoris writes in an email to Light Reading Friday.

Notably, revisions to the bill that would have strengthened its net neutrality language were defeated by a vote of 23-8. Today, the Barton bill simply restates some broad net neutrality rules issued by the FCC last summer and provides very little enforcement teeth.

If the House Commerce committee makes quick work of passing the COPE bill next week, it could reach the floor of the House for a vote in the second week of May, sources say.

“On the floor, it will probably pass by a fairly wide margin, creating some momentum for Senate action,” say Sanford Washington Research Group analysts Paul Glenchur and Paul Gallant in a policy bulletin released this week. “We think the chances for ultimate enactment of franchise relief legislation in 2006 are now approaching 50 percent."

The creation of a national video franchise would be a big break for telcos, which are now just beginning their push into the video business. Such a franchise would relieve telcos of the hassle and cost of obtaining local video franchises on a city-by-city basis. And it would allow them to pick and choose where they want to deploy video services, without having to haggle with local politicians.

That process is nothing strange to the cable industry, whose companies have been signing local video franchises for years. The cable guys naturally don’t like the idea of their telco rivals bypassing all that work with a national video franchise while cable companies remain beholden to their existing contracts.

The cable industry has been the staunchest opponent of the Barton bill and has succeeded in removing some telco-friendly video pricing language from the current draft of the bill.

The cable industry’s representation in Washington, the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) , has yet to take a hard and fast position on the issue -- at least not publicly.

“Our approach so far has been one of pragmatism and acknowledging that there is strong sentiment for a national video franchise,” says NCTA spokesman Rob Stoddard. “We haven’t yet fully weighed in. It’s a matter of seeing what the various committees do with it before it reaches the floor.”

The NCTA has said publicly it might support a national video franchise law if it applied equally to telco and cable players.

A source close to the telco lobby says the cable industry doesn’t believe it can garner enough votes on the House side to derail passage of a national video franchise. So the cable crowd is now focusing its lobbying efforts on the Senate, the source says.

In order for a video franchise to become a reality, the Senate must pass its own version of a franchise law. If that happens, the House and Senate bills would be hammered into one bill by a joint conference committee before being sent to the President’s desk. That said, new telecom law containing a national video franchise law faces a wholly different set of obstacles on the Senate side. (See Senate Commerce Committee Holds Hearing on Video Franchising.) Sources say the Commerce Committee is close to completing such a bill, and that it could see committee and floor action in May. But the primary thrust behind the bill in the Senate comes from a desire to rewrite Universal Service Fund law, sources say. The video franchise, at least for now, is a secondary issue. The Senate’s bill may also roll in other pieces of legislation imposing more binding network neutrality rules on both telco and cable broadband providers. (See Net Neutrality Debate Wydens.)

— Mark Sullivan, Reporter, Light Reading

(2)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:56:21 AM
re: Video Franchise Gains Steam in DC
Clearly the Bush admin has been bought, hook line and sinker, by the telcos. Perhaps the senate will dispense with the requirement for universal service, while keeping the fees intact. No wonder GOOG is spending $2B/y on "data centers, networking equipment and servers" for an expected high return. They will just bypass the whole mess.
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:56:19 AM
re: Video Franchise Gains Steam in DC
* Where Verizon Fios rolled out, cable MSO's magically lowered their prices in those areas from 15% to 25%. So MSO's have margin.

* With VOIP, Telco's are getting pinched on price. So phone has margin to lower price.

Lower prices, more features, bandwidth and service. Thank you, may I have another sir.

As long as the politicans are not getting paid off that results in raising prices, I am all for it.
From The Founder
NFV's promises of automation and virtualization are intriguing, but what really excites service providers is the massive amount of money they could save.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
Charting the CSP's Future
Six different communications service providers join to debate their visions of the future CSP, following a landmark presentation from AT&T on its massive virtualization efforts and a look back on where the telecom industry has been and where it's going from two industry veterans.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
AT&T's Tech President Preps Workforce for the Future

7|26|17   |   5:47   |   (6) comments

AT&T is focused on the software-defined network of the future and is reskilling its workforce to get ready too, according to AT&T's President of Technology Development Melissa Arnoldi.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Cisco: Mentoring Critical to Attract & Retain Women

7|19|17   |   6:40   |   (1) comment

Liz Centoni, senior vice president and general manager of Cisco's Computing System Product Group, shares why mentoring in all its forms is important for women and what Cisco is doing that's made a difference for women in tech.
LRTV Custom TV
Gigabit LTE With Snapdragon 835

7|12|17   |     |   (1) comment

At an event in Wembley stadium, EE used its live network to demonstrate gigabit LTE using a Sony Xperia XZ Premium smartphone with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chip.
LRTV Custom TV
Implementing Machine Intelligence With Guavus

7|12|17   |     |   (0) comments

Guavus unites big data and machine intelligence, enabling many of the the largest service providers in the world to save money and drive measureable revenue. Learn how applying Machine Intelligence substantially reduces operational costs and in many cases can eliminate subscriber impact, meaning a better subscriber experience and higher NPS.
LRTV Custom TV
Unlocking Customer Experience Insights With Machine Intelligence

7|12|17   |     |   (0) comments

When used to analyze operational data and to drive operational decisions, machine intelligence reduces the number of tasks which require human intervention. Guavus invested in Machine Intelligence early. Learn about the difference between Machine Learning and Machine Intelligence.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Verizon VP Talks Network, Career Planning

7|12|17   |   4:49   |   (0) comments

Heidi Hemmer, vice president of Technology, Strategy & Planning at Verizon, shares how bold bets and the future of tech define her career.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Masergy's NFV Journey

7|11|17   |     |   (0) comments

Ray Watson, vice president of global technology at Masergy, discusses the advantages and challenges in entering the still-maturing NFV market for the past three years.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Mavenir on RCS Cloud Platform & Multi-ID

7|10|17   |     |   (0) comments

Guillaume Le Mener, head of marketing and corporate development at Mavenir, discussed RCS and the recent launch of Multi-ID, which supports T-Mobile's DIGITS, the revolutionary new technology that breaks down the limitation of one number per phone and one phone per number.
LRTV Custom TV
ADTRAN Executive Outlines Trends in Next-Generation 10-Gigabit Cable Networks

7|10|17   |     |   (0) comments

Hossam Salib, VP of Cable and Wireless Strategy at ADTRAN, outlines key trends as MSOs begin to deploy next-generation Gigabit and 10-Gigabit cable networks. In the interview, Hossam outlines the advantages of a Fiber Deep architecture, FTTH options including EPON and RFoG, and the importance of SDN and NFV in building next-generation high-bandwidth cable networks.
LRTV Interviews
Global Capacity: Bandwidth Demand Driving Ethernet Growth

7|6|17   |   6:37   |   (0) comments

At Light Reading's Big Communications Event in Austin, Texas, Global Capacity's VP of Marketing Mary Stanhope talks about how the demand for bandwidth is changing the way service providers deliver broadband services.
LRTV Interviews
Colt's Services Chief on Digital Delivery

7|5|17   |   16:12   |   (0) comments

Rogier Bronsgeest, the chief customer experience officer (chief CEO!) at Colt, discusses the way in which the service provider interacts with its customers these days and his aggressive net promoter score (NPS) targets.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
BT VP: Women Should Fill Security Talent Gap

7|5|17   |   6:00   |   (2) comments

By 2020 there will be six security jobs for every qualified worker, and Kate Kuehn, vice president of Security for BT in the Americas, says BT wants to encourage women to fill the shortage in jobs.
Upcoming Live Events
September 28, 2017, Denver, CO
October 18, 2017, Colorado Convention Center - Denver, CO
November 1, 2017, The Royal Garden Hotel
November 1, 2017, The Montcalm Marble Arch
November 2, 2017, 8 Northumberland Avenue, London, UK
November 30, 2017, The Westin Times Square
All Upcoming Live Events
With the mobile ecosystem becoming increasingly vulnerable to security threats, AdaptiveMobile has laid out some of the key considerations for the wireless community.
Hot Topics
NFV, SDN, Big Data – It's All About Automation
Craig Matsumoto, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading, 7/21/2017
What's a Little Throttling Between Friends?
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 7/24/2017
AT&T's Tech President Preps Workforce for the Future
Kelsey Kusterer Ziser, Editor, 7/26/2017
The Hidden (Human) Cost of Automation
Steve Saunders, CEO and founder, Light Reading, 7/26/2017
BBC Head: We Must Reinvent Broadcasting for a New Generation
Aditya Kishore, Practice Leader, Video Transformation, Telco Transformation, 7/21/2017
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Following a recent board meeting, the New IP Agency (NIA) has a new strategy to help accelerate the adoption of NFV capabilities, explains the Agency's Founder and Secretary, Steve Saunders.
One of the nice bits of my job (other than the teeny tiny salary, obviously) is that I get to pick and choose who I interview for this slot on the Light Reading home ...
Animals with Phones
Live Digital Audio

Playing it safe can only get you so far. Sometimes the biggest bets have the biggest payouts, and that is true in your career as well. For this radio show, Caroline Chan, general manager of the 5G Infrastructure Division of the Network Platform Group at Intel, will share her own personal story of how she successfully took big bets to build a successful career, as well as offer advice on how you can do the same. We’ll cover everything from how to overcome fear and manage risk, how to be prepared for where technology is going in the future and how to structure your career in a way to ensure you keep progressing. Chan, a seasoned telecom veteran and effective risk taker herself, will also leave plenty of time to answer all your questions live on the air.