HR 1542 [OT, anti-BS attempt, US]

Roeland Meyer rmeyer at
Mon May 7 17:32:40 UTC 2001

> From: Fletcher E Kittredge [mailto:fkittred at]
> Sent: Monday, May 07, 2001 9:32 AM
> > Yes, and a number of us look at their "exclusive" 
> agreements, with many
> > municiplaities, and have been asking why they are not a 
> regulated monopoly.
>   ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
>   municipalities

Okay, so we know I can't touch-type and have lexdysic fingers. I would think
that this is well-known by now. I'm a programmer fercrisake! I would think
that the average reader here has a better parser than g++.

> > Those contracts are as anti-competitive as it gets.
> Roland, about which country are you holding this discussion?  I am
> located in the US and thought you were talking about the US.
> If so, I am confused.  What is exclusive about these agreements?
> Can't you just file to become a CLEC, string fiber/copper on the poles
> and complete directly with the cable companies?  I haven't seen a
> modern municipal cable contract yet that was exclusive and blocked
> other providers of high speed Internet access, or even video.

Falcon Cable ... Morgan Hill, CA ... to name one of many. Livermore CA...
for another. San Jose .... and the list goes on...

> Don't get me wrong, I am *very* much in favor of open access, have a
> good business selling IP over cable plant and would love to do it over
> Adlephia/TWAOL/AT&T plant, I just hate to see yet another bit 'o BS
> propagated.

I tried, in 1993, to drop a satellite head-end into a retirement
trailer^H^H^H^H^H^H^Hmobilehome park. This was all private property. The
deal was a co-op where ech resident pays a monthly fee to the owners of the
park and we ran co-ax to feed all the residents, on a cost-recovery basis.
Upfront capitalization was amortised over 3 years. City council got wind of
it and threatened the park's owner with cancellation of their operating
permits becasue such a plant put the city at risk of violating their
exclusive franchise agreement with Falcon Cable, for cable TV provisioning.
This caused me to do some research into this. Yes, these exclusive contracts
still exist today as part of the cable franchise system. I should also tell
you that I worked for PacificBell Broadband, until 1997, where this also
became an issue. The LA beachhead was largely stone-walled becasue of this.

> BTW, if you spend much time with regulators and lawyers, you will be
> aware that there is a major difference between the cable network and
> the PSTN.  After the mid-1930's, the PSTN was built by a company which
> was guaranteed a specific, profitable rate of return.  The cable
> network was built by many small entrepreneurs who were not guaranteed
> a profit nor even solvency.  For that reason, the PSTN is more
> arguably a public resource.

Rights of way were granted, to cable operators, on a city-by-city basis, all
based on exclusive franchise agreements, nation-wide. At that time, all they
were pumping down those pipes were analog video. Now, that they are pumping
digital data streams, those contracts have not changed. What is
significantly different is that the telcos have no such exclusivity, per
city. This is not competition, it is market lock-out. Each cable operator
has a proprietary exclusive market lock on the city of operation. Many of
these contracts were bought by, what is now AT&T, when they bought all those
cable operators. Cable systems, plants, and rights of way, were specifically
excluded from regulatory effects and ignored by the 1996 telecom act.

Cable operators are unregulated local monopolies.

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