Off the table


At least one topic won’t come up for discussion at the Open Meeting of the FCC tomorrow. The Commission’s desire that local franchising authorities refrain from making unreasonable demands of entities attempting to enter their territory in order to compete with cable has been postponed. Chairman Kevin Martin has been a proponent of various efforts designed to help telcos get into the MVPD business, but municipalities have been howling about federal regulations which impair their ability to control MVPDs currently under their jurisdiction. Efforts on Capitol Hill to enact federal franchising authority failed to get ouy of Republican-controlled committees back in 2006 failed, and efforts have not been seriously renewed under Democratic control. Telcos have spent the interim period pushing for franchising authority on a state-by-state basis, and have also expanded their territory the old-fashioned way, locality-by-locality.