Oppose the MA State Franchising Bill (Verizon) Senate 1987 & House 1298

We urge all legislators in MA to vote against Senate Docket 1987 and House Docket 1298, otherwise known as the Verizon bill. This bill will strip local towns of their aility to negotiate fair franchise deals that include adequate funding to build and maintain viable cable access television stations. We view cable access and its independence from paid advertising as a vital part of democracy and the competition of ideas. We support the emergence of competition with Comcast and commend Verizon for entering these new markets. However Verizon has done so many times in MA under the current laws and we do not wish to see these diluted by the proposed new bill\'s provisions. Verizon is trying to avoid build-out requirements that Comcast was compelled to make and thus it would be unfair competition with some consumers left with a monopoly supplier and others with a duopoly. Cable companies are doing well under the current system and there is no reason to change it. Local control over the public rights of way is a vital cornerstone of Massachusetts democracy and governance. Each community should benefit from the commercial use of its rights of way, through franchises that meet the particular cable-related needs and interests of that community including: * Build-out requirements (that prevent red-lining) * PEG access operating and capital grants * Institutional Networks * Emergency override capability * Consumer protection & customer service standards

Sponsor

Boston Area Media Reform Group

Links

http://www.massaccess.org/ www.wincam.org

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