States Active on Franchise Front

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Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels signed the state’s new telecommunications and video reform legislation last week.

"Consumers win when markets are competitive," Verizon Communications Inc. Great Lakes region president Gale Given said. "Equally important, this new law will encourage investment in the state of Indiana by companies large and small.

Elsewhere, a New Jersey state Senate Committee approved a franchise-reform draft last week that would enable telephone companies to get statewide operating approval within 45 days of filing a request.

Instead of universal build-out requirements, a telco would be required to serve only the 60 most populated cities in its footprint within three years of certification, according to the draft. Services would be available throughout each of those cities within six years of the franchise issuance.

The statewide franchises will be issued by a division of the Board of Public Utilities and would be good for 15 years. Incumbents would remain bound by current contracts.

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