FCC Preparing To Smooth The Way For TV Services By Phone Companies - InformationWeek

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FCC Preparing To Smooth The Way For TV Services By Phone Companies

AT&T and Verizon have spent billions to deploy fiber optic cable in their service areas to compete with cable TV companies.

The FCC is scheduled to vote Wednesday on a measure that will help AT&T and Verizon Communications offer cable television service to subscribers in their regions. Approval would position telecommunications companies to compete more directly with cable TV firms.

The issue is a favorite of FCC chairman Kevin Martin, who has complained that local franchise authorities obstruct applications for new cable offerings by telecom companies like AT&T and Verizon. The two firms have been spending billions to deploy fiber optic cable in their service areas to compete with cable TV companies.

Cable TV companies have picked up telephone subscribers from telephone companies in recent months, and the phone companies maintain new fiber cable networks will enable them to better compete with the cable TV firms.

"The commission can take steps to further this entry [of telecom companies] and ensure the benefits of increased video competition, namely lower prices for consumers, are available to as many Americans as possible as quickly as possible," said Martin earlier this month.

The introduction of fiber optic cable by the telecom companies has gained traction in fits and starts in recent months as Texas and California moved to smooth the way for introduction of the service, and as other states have been thwarted in efforts to approve cable TV offerings by phone companies.

Various local and state authorities, however, have complained about what they regard as a too-quick move to cable TV by the telecommunications firms.

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