Many complain about gridlock in Washington, DC, but I sometimes subscribe to the cynical counter-reaction that gridlock is great. It is when the Democrats and Republicans agree that Americans should beware.
Though this may or may not be true about politics, it is certainly true when applied to two of the most hated industries in America: cable television companies and DSL companies like AT&T. When they come to agreement, you can bet that prices are going up for the rest of us.
In our coverage of AT&T's bid to limit broadband competition in South Carolina by revoking local authority to build networks for economic development, we have thus far ignored the position of the cable companies.
We took a tour through the newsletters of the South Carolina Cable Television Association over the course of 2011, which is when AT&T introduced its H.3508 bill.
Unsurprisingly, the cable companies are thrilled at the prospect of limiting competition in communities by cutting off the ability of a community to build a network when the private sector is failing to meet their needs. From the 1st Quarter newsletter [pdf]:
The SCCTA has been actively following the AT&T-backed legislation that would amend the Government-Owned Telecommunications Service Providers Act. House Bill 3508 would impose the same requirements on government-owned broadband operations that are currently imposed on telecommunications operations.
Of course, H.3508 goes far beyond applying the "same requirements." It enacts a host of requirements that only apply to public providers, which are already disadvantaged by being much smaller than companies like Time Warner Cable and AT&T. We have long ago debunked the myth of public sector advantages over the private sector.
H3508, the AT&T backed legislation, has been our dominate piece of legislation in 2011.
Even after the bill was shelved...Read more