Verizon Bill Lives in Texas

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Verizon Communications Inc.’s cable-franchise-reform hopes have risen again in the “Lone Star State.”

Texas Gov. Rick Perry has signed a proclamation that called the 79th session of the legislature back into session, specifically to consider legislation related to further competition in the telecommunications market, another proposal to provide broadband over power lines and a proposal for state authority over cable and video services.

A broad-based telecommunications-reform bill, including proposed state authority over franchising, failed during the regular session when time ran out for its passage

The Texas Cable & Telecommunications Association renewed its campaign against the bill, criticizing the Texas-based telcos for seeking “special favors” from the state legislature.

The fact that Verizon has gained five franchises in the state demonstrates that multibillion-dollar companies don’t need favors or incentives through legislation to invest in the state, according to the cable trade group.

The telephone companies said they need relief from city-by-city franchise negotiations in order to quickly bring competitive services to market.

“We urge the legislature to study this highly complex issue further before rushing through legislation in a special session that is likely to have a major negative impact on cities and Texas consumers,” said TCTA chairman Tom Kinney, president of Time Warner Cable Austin.

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