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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Reaction Mixed on FCC Video Franchise Move

As expected, the Federal Communications Commission approved a series of measures that aim to reform the video franchise process at the local level, including a 90-day timeline for municipalities to approve a video service application for a local community.

Among the more controversial moves tied to the FCC effort was the agency's finding that it would be unreasonable for a local franchise authority to demand a new video entrant deploy its service throughout a community or beyond a current service area. The FCC also said it would be unreasonable to require new video entrants to build-out requirements that were more aggressive than what's required for incumbent video providers such as cable.

Lobbying interests representing telcos, a lot of which are rolling out video services, praised the FCC's move.

Walter McCormick, president and CEO of USTelecom, said the FCC decision will "help fix the franchising process and end the unnecessary delays caused by outdated regulations. With the commission's own data showing cable prices nearly doubling over 10 years, streamlining the franchising process will help bring real competition and lower prices to the video market."

Susanne Guyer, Verizon senior vice president for federal regulatory affairs, said the commission's action "will fast-forward the delivery of new choices, lower prices and better services to consumers." Guyer added that the FCC "has taken strong steps to increase consumer choice and spur investment in broadband and video deployment."

Broadcasters also backed the FCC efforts. Dennis Wharton, executive vice president of the National Association of Broadcasters, said the commission action would "increase much needed competition to cable monopolies." He added that the FCC "delivered a holiday treat for cable customers who will now have a choice and the ability to avoid rate hikes that run two to four times the annual rate of inflation."

Others criticized the agency's move.

FCC Commissioner Michael Copps, one of two dissenters on the franchise vote, said the agency's move could invite "more delay, more confusion and more possibility of legal challenge." He added, "I think we should pause, take a deep breath, answer the questions and reach out for more consensus."

Other observers said the FCC and Chairman Kevin Martin could face tough questions from Democrats in Congress moving into key leadership positions in January as well as Republicans supportive of local communities having a say on video service.

Also, it's expected the FCC order will be challenged in court.

Martin and Republican commissioners Deborah Taylor Tate and Robert McDowell voted for the reforms. Copps and fellow Democrat Jonathan Adelstein voted against the items.

www.mbc-thebridge.com - used wth permission
 

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Coincidentally, I received a package yesterday from Verizon with news that my address now qualifies for FIOS TV. Since the option now exists, I'll be getting out my magnifying glass to study the pros and cons of jumping ship.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Earlier this week, the Federal Communications Commission approved a series of measures designed to reform the local video franchise process and enable new multichannel video service providers a quicker entrance into the pay-TV market. The agency said its goals were to increase competition within the video marketplace thereby driving down increasing monthly cable bills.

What about satellite? According to some at the FCC, television services from the likes of DIRECTV and EchoStar's DISH Network aren't doing a good enough job at creating a more competitive marketplace and curbing cable rates.

But at a time when satellite services are getting the short end of the stick in a debate it never asked to be a part of, other actions by the FCC have spoken to the technology's benefits to the entire communications industry.

Also this week the agency granted Intelsat North America conditional authority to modify its earth station in Nuevo, California to provide launch and early orbit phase (LEOP) service to newly launched C-band satellites. The FCC green-lighted Intelsat to increase the emission power at the station for its Earth-to-space transmissions to U.S. licensed or non-U.S. licensed C-band satellites.

Commissioners also approved Virtual Geosatellite's plan to construct a satellite system of highly-elliptical, non-geostationary satellite orbit (NGSO) fixed-satellite service (FSS) satellites to operate in C- and Ku-band frequencies. Specifically, the agency authorized the company to construct 18 NGSO FSS satellites capable of operating service links, infrastructure and relay links, telemetry, tracking, and command links.

According to FCC documents, after Virtual Geo meets certain orbital debris requirements, the authorization will allow the company to offer a range of data, voice, and video broadband fixed satellite services to businesses and consumers around the globe, and will promote competition and investment in broadband services.

Maybe satellite is creating competition after all.

www.SkyReport.com - used with permission
 
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