Bay Area Cities Resist Telecom Upgrades?

This one leaves me confused. Amidst a country complaining that the incumbent telcos are too slow to upgrade network infrastructure, we hear a story of how some California cities are resisting SBC/ATT efforts to upgrade to a fiber-backed DSL system called Project Lightspeed. At issue is the fact that the new SBC infrastructure is capable of carrying IPTV, and thus should be required to get a local franchise to be a ‘cable operator’. That’s the way cable TV has traditionally been done: cities offer a franchise to an MSO (cableco), in exchange for a promise to cover the whole city, possibly some cash, and the promise to offer certain basic services at reasonable prices. Basic service at low prices? That may be true for some low-density housing cable subscribers who only get the basic package, but for those of us, like me, who pay $145 each month to Comcast for our bundle of services, the franchise seems more like a license to print money. But cities want the telcos to have to deal with them and get a franchse before upgrading their networks. The mayor of Livermore went so far as to say that SBC slipping in Project Lightspeed equipment was “a rather deceiving incident”. Is Livermore really fighting against infrastructure improvements? Is that good for the citizens and businesses?

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