FCC Chairman Only Able To Help Telcos Halfway This Week
from the and-the-ps3-was-sold-out-too dept
It looks like Kevin Martin won't be able to play Santa Claus for AT&T and BellSouth and deliver the companies approval for their merger before the end of the year. However, on the agenda for this week's meeting is another present for telcos: plans ease their entry into the cable TV business by making it easier for them to obtain local franchises for areas in which they want to offer video services. Martin says it's a move that's crucial to increasing competition in the cable TV market, but given his own flawed ideas of what constitutes competition as well as the FCC's persistent unwillingness or incompetence to increase the level of competition, it's hard to see this FCC action really benefiting anybody other than the telcos (despite what their shills say). Apparently, it's more important for Martin to deliver the win to the telcos by pointing the finger at local governments, rather than own up to the FCC's and his own long and storied history of stifling competition in telecom markets. It's easy to believe that making it easier for telcos to enter, the cable TV market will instantly become more competitive and prices for consumers will drop -- but nothing has happened to suggest anything of the sort will occur. The same sort of duopoly hasn't caused real competition in broadband, while the FCC will apparently also this week discuss Verizon's recently announced price increases for its TV services, illustrating how this introduction of competition doesn't automatically translate into lower prices. If the telcos were able to wring some favors out of Martin after singing him Happy Birthday, you think they've already had the Christmas carolers pay him a visit?