FCC Chairman's competition promise means nothing


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What is the point of these exclusivity deals in the first place? Do they solely exist to generate franchise fee revenue for the municpality?

If so, wouldn’t it be more effective to just implement a “TV tax” or something on all residents, and leave the option open for to get their service from whichever company they choose?

If it’s solely to decrease wire clutter and avoid redundancy, well, all the more reason to go IPTV and common carrier delivery of service.

Well, he’s proven John Oliver correct.

He IS a dingo.


The standard thought is pretty simple–cable, fiber, and telecom require easements, construction, and infrastructure. So the towns try to limit unroar for another ugly telcobox by signing exclusive deals.

Turns out this is amazingly lucrative for providers.

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I dunno why, Capitalism doesn’t always seem to live up to the advertising?


Fuck the telecoms. They’ve had their chance and they blew it. Time to nationalize the wires. Think about how different the network would be if the goal was to maximize the speed everyone gets instead of setting up tiers to maximize revenue.


This made me laugh. You do realize that “nationalized” wires are only a hairsbreadth away from what we’re dealing with now, right? You do realize that the head of the FCC is a former cable industry lobbyist, right? You do realize that the reason these exclusivity deals exist is because a) the federal and state governments made municipal networks illegal, and b) the federal and state goverments “regulated” cable and telephone providers to virtually guarantee that some company has a monopoly in any given location, right? And you do realize that a nationalized network would simply be the granting of the national monopoly contract to the existing cable providers, right? Right?

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‘Free Market’ does not involve ‘free market’, somehow.


FWIW, Seattle’s franchise agreement with Comcast is up either this year or next. I received a little flyer in the mail with a link to the gov’ts “request for comment” page, where I dutifully put in my comments along the lines of “pretty please, with tears in my eyes, don’t let Comcast renew the contract. Go with Google Fiber, FiOS, anything other than Comcast I beg of you”, or something along those lines. I doubt anything will come of it, but “hey, at least I tried”.


Municipalities don’t have to sign exclusive franchises. In Rockville, MD, for example, both Verizon and Comcast are franchised.

This is not to say that choice == low prices as they are similar and both expensive. Hopefully this will improve with time.

the difference is that private companies are out to make a profit. that works great for the consumer when the market has meaningful competition. terrible when the market does not.

the wired network is not in a free market. nor can it ever realistically be so. it’s much more like water or electricity. those have always worked better as not-for-profit collectives, and government can be a good collective. ( ex. health insurance! )

federal for the backbone, and state and municipality closer to home would be much better than what we have now. and not-for-profit would make net neutrality a lot easier to implement.

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