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FCC jolts cable companies for broader connectivity

The Federal Communications Commission is putting an end to thousands of exclusivity contracts that cable companies have to cover apartment complexes, the New York Times reported yesterday (free registration required).

The FCC originally allowed exclusivity deals so that low-income housing could get cable TV. The cost of cable service has taken some pricey hikes in the years of late though, which defeated the purpose of exclusivity contracts in the first place. What was the point of snaking coaxial cable into people's homes if they couldn't afford the service?

"Government and private studies show that when a second cable company enters a market, prices can drop as much as 30 percent," the article stated.

Beyond the amusement of watching cable companies shoot themselves in their collective foot, this move could have plenty of good second-order effects for the country and even for government agencies.

The U.S. has been lagging in home broadband deployment of late, when measured against other countries. If more players compete to offer broadband communications channels, it could result in more wired homes in the end.

And that is something we need. Forget for a second that this is about getting Comedy Central to more Americans. Having broadband pipes into homes for any reason could only help agencies in myriad ways, from better continuity of operations planning'where employees could work more easily out of their homes'to finally having a sturdy electronic conduit upon which citizen services could truly be universally offered.

Posted by Joab Jackson on Oct 29, 2007 at 9:39 AM


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