SB 1087 brings fairness, level playing field, to video services competition
AUSTIN – The Texas Cable Association (TCA) issued the following statement in connection with the signing into law by Gov. Rick Perry of Senate Bill 1087, which provides a more level playing field for video service providers by erasing some competitive advantages provided by prior legislation for new entrants to the video market. The law goes into effect Sept. 1.
The following statement can be attributed to Todd Baxter, Vice President, Government Affairs and General Counsel, of the Texas Cable Association.
“The Texas Cable Association thanks Chairmen John Carona and Harvey Hilderbran for their hard work to make video service regulations more fair. As a result of SB 1087, businesses that offer the same services – cable operators, telephone companies and other video providers – will operate on a more level playing field. Texans who subscribe to video services win when there is competition in the marketplace.”
Among the provisions of SB 1087:
- In cities of less than 215,000 population, cable providers that now operate under municipal franchise agreements will be allowed to terminate those agreements and opt into the State-Issued Certificate of Franchise Authority (SICFA) system starting Sept. 1. Under current law, new market entrants operate under SICFA, but incumbent cable providers are not permitted to transition to SICFA until their existing municipal franchise agreements expire – which, in some instances, is not until 2030.
- Franchise fee audits by cities will be limited to four years. This ensures that cities and providers know by a time certain if adjustments in franchise fee payments are needed.
- A documentation system will ensure cities are appropriately using the 1 percent Public, Educational and Government Access programming (PEG) fee paid to them by Texas video customers. The fee is intended to be used by cities to support PEG channels, but no system of accountability or transparency exists.
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TCA (www.txcable.com) has been the primary trade organization for cable operators in Texas since 1960. Members include Allegiance Communications, Cable One, Charter Communications, Comcast, CommuniComm, Suddenlink Communications and Time Warner Cable. Follow TCA’s activities on Facebook (www.facebook.com/texascable) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/texascable).