Patrick Hynes

I probably don’t need to tell readers that the invisible hand of free-market competition has a way of shoving fat-and-happy industries into providing better products and higher quality services, all at lower prices. 

For example, today curious transformations are taking place in the television business that will utterly alter the way we send and receive our broadcast news and entertainment – for the better.

Consider the following. 

In Texas, the state legislature passed and Gov. Rick Perry signed a law that essentially eliminated a requirement that providers of IPTV (which stands for Internet Protocol Television; TV over fiber optic Internet lines) go door-to-door and secure localized franchise fees from individual municipalities.  Heretofore, the possession of the infrastructure that pipes in the programming and the permission from the broadcast providers to carry their television shows wasn’t enough.  If you weren’t the cable company, you were barred from providing the service.  Since the Cable Franchise Policy Act of 1984, Congress legally recognized local governments’ right to authorize the franchises.  But the new Texas law allows IPTV providers (in this case Verizon) to secure a statewide franchise.  New Jersey is debating similar legislation

As you can imagine, Big Cable fought like hell to stop the regulatory change in Texas. Indeed, they’re still fighting.  Lawsuits are imminent. And Big Cable is lobbying like mad in New Jersey. But the competition cat is out of the bag and it’s going to be awfully hard to put her back in.

Some returns are already in on IPTV.  One anonymous customer in Keller, TX told I4U News that the IPTV “picture is really the best that I have seen ever, even on non-HD channels.”  And at roughly $13 per month cheaper than traditional cable, “the starter channel package is really affordable,” the fellow said.

Better yet, the aforementioned invisible hand has begun to nudge Big Cable into improving their offerings. According to Bill Peacock of the Texas Public Policy Foundation:

“And while the cable industry might not have liked the new legislation, it wasted no time in responding to it.

Patrick Hynes

Patrick Hynes is the president of New Media Strategics, a blog relations consultancy. He is the proprietor of Ankle Biting Pundits and the author of In Defense of the Religious Right (Nelson Current).

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