No More Discrimination for State-Issued Franchises
One battle in the long war between cable operators and video services offered by traditional phone companies in Texas appears to be over.
The Texas Legislature created a state-issued franchise for new video providers in 2005. Before then, in order to offer service to residents a video service had to negotiate contracts with individual municipalities. In January, a federal appeals court ruled that allowing only some companies to apply for the state-issued franchise was unconstitutional.
The U.S. Supreme Court declined to take up an appeal on Monday, finalizing the previous appeals court’s ruling.
“Now all cable operators [and] video providers in Texas are treated under the same footing under the same law,” said Kirstin Voinis, a spokesperson for the Texas Cable Association. “They go through the same steps to serve customers instead of cable operators being treated differently than new entrants into the marketplace.”
The ruling doesn’t affect existing franchises issued by the state. And a possible increase in such franchises isn’t expected to increase competition. Cable companies complained that lawmakers were giving AT&T – the only new video service around for the new law in 2005 – an unfair advantage in rolling out its new U-verse video service.