Michigan Net Neutrality Killing Bill Passes Senate, 26-12

The telecom lobby just got video franchising in Michigan, which is in keeping with the telcos strategy of avoiding the national fight with the Democratic Congress.  Once the telecom companies get video franchising rights in enough states, they won't need national legislation, and they will spend all their energy in DC killing any legislation we put up.

Video franchising just passed the Michigan state Senate, and Granholm is going to sign the bill.  She promises to seek net neutrality protections next cycle, which is probably not going to happen as the telco lobby is just going to spend all its time and the money it's now going to make in Michigan killing it.  

Politically speaking, chalk this one up to inexperience on our part.  We came in late and didn't explain the situation clearly - even Google made missteps.  There was some momentum, and we did force a debate, but it was too little too late.  

The fight is at the state level.  Watch out for your state now.

Tags: Jennifer Granholm, Michigan, net neutrality (all tags)



Bowers (I think it was Bowers) said...

...video franchising was a good thing with Net Neutrality provisions some time ago. It was one of the frontpagers anyway.

I think someone should put up a frontpage post dealing with video franchising, what it is, etc.

by MNPundit 2006-12-12 10:07AM | 0 recs
Re: Bowers (I think it was Bowers) said...

If video franchising is a good thing, then this should probably be true with or without net neutrality provisions. The two are not necessarily connected, though they were put together during the last congress.

Putting the two together might even be counterproductive, on the issue of video franchising. One of the big things that it could deliver is more competitive video-on-demand. The problem lies in that net neutrality would bar the possibility of one of those "fast lanes" that come under so much criticism. But these fast lanes are what would be delivering hi-res video to the home. NTT does this in Japan, that is to say they are non-neutral over Internet lines in this regard, and it seems to work fine.

(Disclosure: I work with Hands Off the Internet.)

by morgan hoti 2006-12-12 10:36AM | 0 recs
Missouri Is Surely On the List

With the Republicans controlling the trifecta, including a business-friendly Blunt for Governor, and where SBC (now, the "new" AT&T) has long been one of the three or four most influential lobbying forces, I suspect "franchise reform" will sail through.  [The legislature is only in session from early January through May 15, so there is not a lot of time to do anything.]

by Arthurkc 2006-12-12 10:07AM | 0 recs
Re: Michigan Net Neutrality Killing Bill ...

As I've stated elsewhere, the NCTA is hitting Cox cable customers here (Kansas) with the "Mumbo Jumbo" ad.  I personally see it at least 2-3 times a day.  While I haven't heard about whether this type of bill is coming up in the next legislative session, the ads give me the impression that the industry is going to make the effort here in 2007.  (It has to be a state effort as my district is "represented" at the federal level by Pat Roberts, Sam Brownback, and Todd Tiahrt.)

by Shocker Jim 2006-12-12 11:59AM | 0 recs
silver lining?

the silver lining here might be that telcos will use this new legislation to do exactly what we worry about.  then other legislative bodies and supporters won't be able to claim "oh, they're nice people, they'd never do anything like that."

by corn dog 2006-12-12 12:27PM | 0 recs
Re: Michigan Net Neutrality Killing Bill Passes Se

Net neutrality is important, but what about the provisions of this bill that allow incumbent cable operators like Comcast to simply tear up their existing franchise obligations?  Having read the bill and talked to some folks on the ground, I'm pretty sure that it allows (for example) Comcast to simply walk away from Detroit neighborhoods it would rather not serve. Yes, I mean withdraw service from existing customers. Too many satellite dishes? Too few premium subscribers? Maintenance costs too high? Say bye-bye. Nothing the city (or state) can do about it.

This is in no way contingent on "competition" -- it's automatic for all cable providers within three months of the bill's effective date, even if they continue to be a community's sole provider.

I see this bill as the template for what we'll see in the Ohio General Assembly early in the next session -- and I see it as a license for Time-Warner and AT&T to redline a large chunk of Cleveland.

by Bill Callahan 2006-12-14 11:22AM | 0 recs


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