Robbins Calls for Fair Competition

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Cox Communications Inc. CEO James O. Robbins told phone-industry executives Tuesday that the cable industry welcomes phone giants into the video business provided that all companies live by the same rules.

"I admire your deep pockets and leagues of lobbyists, but I don’t agree with your stance. It’s not OK to have two wildly differing sets of rules for people in the same, highly competitive business, like video,” Robbins said in a speech to the annual United States Telecom Association convention in Las Vegas.

Robbins -- who is just months after from retirement after 20 years with Cox -- called a new Texas law designed to expedite Baby Bell entry into cable “a blatantly discriminatory piece of legislation that guts much of the local franchising process for video providers -- except, if you’re a cable company, you’re stuck with the old rules and regulatory burdens.”

The cable industry is suing to overturn the Texas law. In a competitive market like cable, Robbins said, regulatory parity should exist among all video providers, “regardless of the delivery method.”

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