The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in Cincinnati issued a ruling Friday that backs up the Federal Communications Commission's attempt to impose some control over municipal-level cable and video franchising. The ruling supported the FCC's position that municipalities need to approve or reject franchise applications within 90 days, or they are considered approved. It also affirmed the notion that telcos not be required to provide video service to low-income areas as part of franchise agreements.
Telcos were recently dealt a blow in their efforts to compete against cable TV companies when the FCC voted that Verizon Communications couldn't use information about voice customers it was losing to cable TV companies in order to win the customers back. So, this ruling provides a little payback, but it may be payback the telcos don't necessarily need, since they have continued to receive franchise authorization from state-level government in a number of states. Still, the decision will help ensure a single community can't put too high a price on its municipal video rights.
- see this report at The Wall Street Journal