Lets regulate all the competition away

Verizon, Montgomery Reach Tentative Deal – washingtonpost.com

Jane Lawton, the county’s cable administrator, said the county’s goal was to get a deal that was equitable to the agreements with Comcast and RCN Corp., the two other cable operators in the county.”We didn’t want to disrupt a level playing field and be open to challenges by competitors,” she said.

Let’s see . . . cable companies nationwide have local monopolies almost everywhere. I don’t know of anyone who can choose cable provider A instead of cable provider B. So now Verizon is introducing real competition, something that should raise the quality of service and lower prices for consumers, and the Montgomery County cable administrator (Whatever the heck that is) is complaining about an unlevel playing field? That’s ridiculous. If the playing field is not level, it’s because YOU, Jane Lawton, and your predecessors have imposed stupid regulations on the existing cable companies. So now you have to make sure you impose them on Verizon, too.

As part of the 15-year agreement, Verizon will pay a franchise fee of 5 percent of television revenue. Another 3 percent of TV revenue will go toward public access programming and other cable television needs. Verizon must also pay $1 million over five years for cable-related investments and provide cable TV for schools, libraries and fire stations.

I don’t know what “cable television needs” and “cable-related investments” are, but this sounds like extortion. I don’t mean to get too Techdirt here, but any time someone says, “We have to protect the consumer by regulating a level playing field”, I hear “The companies that give large donations to my re-election campaign are NOT going to like this new competition.”

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