Competition Comes to Cable TV in Illinois
Illinois cable TV consumers will be big winners now that state legislators have passed a law that allows new cable TV entrants to apply for a statewide franchise to offer service anywhere in the state (AT&T vs. Cable Plan Gets Boost, June 20).
The unanimous votes in both chambers of the General Assembly belie the contention that franchise reform is anti-consumer. Legislators were right to question the dubious assertion that new competitors, after investing billions of dollars in network upgrades, would deliberately choose not to sell service to large segments of the population. Market data show, however, that low-income households purchase cable services at the same rate as wealthier ones. While the bill includes provisions for build-out in all neighborhoods, even without them those demographic segments would be very much in play.
Steven Titch (email@example.com) is senior fellow for IT and telecom policy at The Heartland Institute.