IPTV, a Political HairBall

Over last few days, there has been an increase in the buzz about IPTV, and how Bells want to unseat cable operators from their perch. While it might happen, there seems to be more sound and fury than reality to it. The reasons are not technical by any means. They are as one wise man calls, “analog problems of a digital world.” In other words politics. Many states under extreme pressure from lobbyists are rewriting the cable franchise rules, like Texas which just approved SB 408, that allows “telcos to get single statewide cable franchise.”

“It will allow for the first time for Texas to have competition” for cable TV, said Rep. Phil King, the sponsor of the television provisions. But Rep. Harold Dutton, D-Houston, a critic of the measure, said, “SB 408 should be called SBC 408.”

Cable operators can also get the same deal by canceling their local franchise agreements. Like that is going to happen. These statewide bills means that many municipalities which have cut lucrative deals with cable operators are going to see their revenues nose dive. This means at the local level, there is going to severe resistance to these efforts, regardless of party affiliation. State level politicians are going to hear from the local powerhouses soon enough.

Rep. Burt Solomons, R-Carrollton, tried without success to remove the television provisions from the PUC measure. Solomons said every city in his district opposed the measure.

More of these battles are going on in New Jersey and Pennsylvania