N.J. Assembly OKs Franchise Reform

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Following the lead of the state Senate, the New Jersey Assembly approved its version of a bill to reform video franchising in the state, allowing new entrants into the business within 45 days of filing their state application.

The Assembly acted Monday, approving the legislation by a 61-13 vote, with four members not voting.

"New Jersey is poised to join a growing list of states that are steamrolling antiquated video-franchise laws in favor of rules that promote competition, increase investment and benefit consumers," said Dennis Bone, president of Verizon Communications Inc. New Jersey.

The bill requires buildout within six years, but the standards set in the bill mean that buildout is only guaranteed to county seats and towns with population density of 7,111 per square mile. That pencils out to the 60 most populated communities in the state, most of which are along its northern border.

The legislation still needs to be signed by Gov. Jon Corzine.

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