Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Cable Fact Sheet from the City of Tucson

LEGISLATIVE FACT SHEET
HB2069: municipal rental inspections; technical correction
S/E: cable television licensing
Sponsor: Nelson (R-12)
City of Tucson | Intergovernmental Relations | Director – C Mary Okoye
255 West Alameda | Tucson, AZ 85701 | 520.791.5200 O | 520.791.4555 F


A Strike-Everything amendment to HB 2069 is being proposed by the cable industry to be considered by the House of Representatives Counties, Municipalities and Military Affairs (CMMA) Committee on Tuesday, February 6, 2007 at 1:30 p.m.

The amendment proposes to require a municipality or a county that does not reach a new cable licensing agreement by July 1, 2007 (realistically only the City of Tucson), to renew the license under the existing license terms. The amendment would automatically adjust existing service obligations to those specified in Laws 2006, Chapter 2 (HB 2812: licensing procedures; cable television), in violation of the contracts clause of the Federal Constitution which prohibits a state from impairing the existing obligations of cable providers under holdover cable licenses. State common franchise law allows for a licensee to continue operating under the terms of the license/franchise agreement upon expiration until a new agreement is reached.

Additionally, the amendment would interfere with efforts by the City of Tucson to reach a cable license renewal agreement with the current provider. The amendment has the potential to affect only the City of Tucson, which would make this Special Legislation. The only two other jurisdictions that have not yet reached an agreement will do so prior to the proposed effective date of the amendment – which the cable service provider has admitted.

Cox Communications argues that this amendment is needed because the City of Tucson is attempting to delay negotiations and is not acting in good faith. This is not true. The City of Tucson set an aggressive timetable in order to complete the formal process by the June 30, 2007 deadline imposed by last year’s cable legislation.

Cox Communications, not the City of Tucson, insisted on a formal cable license renewal process, pursuant to federal law. This is potentially a very lengthy process that can take up to 3 years. Part of the formal process includes hiring consultants to assess the communities cable related needs and interests, retaining focus groups and a contracting with technical consultants to assess the Cox system.

It was the City of Tucson who encouraged a more streamlined informal process as do most jurisdictions and as is encouraged by the Federal Cable Act.

We have been negotiating with Cox on this aggressive schedule and believed that we were close to an agreement when Cox suddenly broke off negotiations.

The issue holding up negotiations is the digital divide issue - which the Mayor and Council asked staff to pursue because they want Public, Education and Government (PEG) channels to be available to all subscribers whether or not the subscribe to the more expensive digital service.

4 comments:

Peter Principle said...

Does it not bother anybody that 360 tons of $100 dollar bills - more than $12 Billion Dollars in cash, and another $8 Billion in equipment and supplies, was shipped to the Iraq war zone and disappeared in a 13-month period? This is of course not to mention the $1 Billion per day that we are spending on the Iraq war front every day. Is it no wonder that our Republican President and Republican Senators and Congressmen are drunk with spending the taxpayer’s loot? The secret is out … the vault doors are opened wide and ready for the taking. God save the hardworking American taxpayer!

Anonymous said...

Since when did this blog become a mouthpiece for the City of Tucson -- which opposed 207 and is increasingly liberal? I don't see Randy's dog in this fight -- an etra channel for golf tips?

Framer said...

This blog lives in the city of Tucson, and some of us have a personal ax to grind with Cox cable.

And you are not off the hook either Dish Network!

Choiceless in America said...

LOCAL GOVERNMENTS “PROTECT THE INCUMBANT’S INVESTMENT”

“By managing the deployment as we do, we protect the incumbent’s investment in existing infrastructure, we protect the public from unnecessary disruption to private business and to their safe use and enjoyment of the public right-of-way, and we ensure that new entrants are provided with unfettered access in a reasonable and timely fashion, while ensuring that they comply with all safety requirements. This system has worked well for cable, traditional phone and other providers for many years, and is necessarily performed by the local government.”
– Arvada Colorado Mayor Ken Fellman’s Testimony before the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce and the Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet Wednesday, April 27, 2005 (Fellman is also a cable franchise lawyer and VP at NATOA)

"PROTECT THE INCUMBANT'S INVESTMENT", YOU BET THEY DO, SO WELL THAT YOUR CABLE BILL SHOT UP 93% INCREASE (1995-2005 FCC source)

WHY DO THEY JUST JACK UP THE TV BILL

Comcast is raising the price of the average metro-area customer's cable bill by 6.9 percent starting March 1, yet they held the line on prices for high-speed Internet and phone services. – RMNews January 2007

THEY “PROTECT THE INCUMBENT’S INVESTMENT”, THAT MEANS NO COMPETITION. RESULT FOR YOU IS A 93% INCREASE IN YOUR CABLE BILL.

Comcast Profit Triples - Reuters, 2/1/07

How’s that for a double whammy – one week after Comcast announces a 7% increase for its captive cable customers, the cable monopoly announced record profits.

And as they rake in the cash and their executives get richer and richer, they fight every effort by their employees to get fair wages and benefits – all the while milking customers for everything they got!

As American Rights At Work found in a special report, wages for Comcast’s cable techs are a third lower than wages in traditional land-line telephone companies like at&t, where unions represent about three-fourths of the workers. Benefits are less generous and jobs are less secure, with annual turnover about twice as high.

Worse, Comcast fights tooth-and-nail to keep unions out, or decertify them once their in. Northwest Labor Press reports of a 37-page Comcast anti-union management training document that stated: “Comcast does not feel union representation is in the best interest of its employees, customers and shareholders.”

But it gets worse. Comcast is waging war against union employees – literally. During the AT&T days, unions made headway organizing in a handful of cities, including Beaverton, OR. But once Comcast acquired AT&T’s cable systems they began to systematically dismantle union shops…and show union workers the door. In Beaverton, Comcast vice president Curt Henninger made the company’s intentions crystal clear when he told commissioners in videotaped testimony: “I will tell you we are going to wage a war to decertify the CWA.”

Cable is anti-consumer & anti-competition

Legislators must send them the message that their days of pillaging customers and exploiting workers are over.