Don't confuse franchise fees with right of way rights

Submitted by acohill on Mon, 05/29/2006 - 07:49

South Carolina legislators have passed a bill that creates statewide franchising. What distresses me is that two distinct issues have been mixed up together in this legislation. Franchise fees have been lumped together with right of way. Franchise fees, as originally conceived, no longer make sense when content providers don't have to have a physical presence in the community. But communities do need to have control over their right of way and over those companies that still want to place cable in community right of way. The bill is bad law not so much because franchise fees have been eliminated but because communities have had their rights taken away (the right to manage their own common/public property).

The only solution, in my opinion, is for communities to get busy and build their own, open access broadband networks. Doing so eliminates the overbuilding in community right of way.

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