FreedomWorks Builds Case for Cable Franchise Reform in the Buckeye State
FreedomWorks report shows consumers harmed by outdated laws; study to be
distributed to Ohio Legislature.
WASHINGTON, June 8 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- FreedomWorks is continuing the fight for choice in video services for Ohio consumers with the release of a new study by Diane Katz that examines the benefits of franchise reform. Assessing the Case for Cable Franchise Reform is being distributed to the Ohio General Assembly and made available to the public. The report found that the lack of competition has resulted in cable rate increases that have dwarfed inflation. Between 1999 and 2007, for example, the cost of cable service in Canton jumped 41 percent, and Findlay saw cable rates soar by 67 percent. Ohio currently has over one thousand municipal franchising authorities. This creates an insurmountable barrier to market entry for potential video service providers, effectively leaving consumers without a choice. Katz found that easing competitors' entry into local markets would save consumers millions of dollars annually, create thousands of new jobs and expand the availability of broadband services. More competition in phone, cable, and internet service providers would also directly benefit consumers by allowing for more choices among a wider range of services at competitive prices, according to the report. Ohio is considering reforming its outdated franchise laws, and a bill (SB 117) is pending in the House. This legislation has overwhelmingly passed in the state senate. The bill would streamline franchising requirements by creating a uniform statewide franchise. In so doing, SB 117 would encourage investment in Ohio's broadband network, which would help to put the state at the forefront of telecommunications innovation. More than a dozen states, including Michigan and Indiana, already have passed similar reforms. FreedomWorks Chairman and former Majority Leader Dick Armey commented: "Cable choice puts consumer interests ahead of bureaucratic interests by letting the individual chose what services and products they want. Cable choice has tremendous long term benefit for Ohio's economy as well. As the state transitions from an industrial economy to a knowledge economy, Ohio will need a world class telecom infrastructure. Cable choice will attract the investments necessary to upgrade the telecom backbone in both urban and rural communities." The report is available at: http://www.freedomworks.org/informed/issues_template.php?issue_id=2845
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