Texas: Phone companies win TV fight
Claudia Grisales writes in the Austin-Amercan Statesman:
Texas phone giants won a major victory over cable companies Sunday when the House gave tentative approval to legislation that makes it easier for them to get into the television business.
The measure passed after nearly four hours of debate and over the objection of cities, which say they will lose money and control, and cable companies, which say the measure favors phone companies.
Senate Bill 408 will allow SBC Communications Inc. and Verizon Communications Inc. to get a single statewide franchise for their planned Internet-based television service, instead of the myriad local agreements that cable companies have.
"It will allow for the first time for Texas to have competition" for cable TV, said Rep. Phil King, the sponsor of the television provisions.
But Rep. Harold Dutton, D-Houston, a critic of the measure, said, "SB 408 should be called SBC 408."