Municipal Wireless and Cable Deregulation Bills Fail to Pass Texas Legislature

Texas State Rep. Phil King and SBC are crying the blues today while Time-Warner, the issue blog Save Muni Wireless, cable companies, and cable access fans are having a massive champagne party or something to that effect. The inability of this session’s Texas Legislature to agree on anything or accomplish anything other than banning gay marriage has allowed municipal wireless (HB 789) and cable access (HB 3179) to live until the next legislative session (my previous posts on cable access here and here). With the Texas Legislature closing its doors yesterday for another two years, the legislators can go back to their home districts for a while (until Rick Perry probably calls them back for another one of his special sessions on school finance).

“It’s over; it’s over,” Rep. Phil King, R-Weatherford, the champion of the proposal, said Saturday night as it became clear that there was no chance the legislation would get to a House vote by the midnight deadline..

“The problem is, we are out of time,” said Troy Fraser, R-Horseshoe Bay, who led Senate opposition to the plan.

Cable companies and a coalition of Texas cities also fought the proposal, which would have allowed SBC Communications Inc. and Verizon Communications Inc. to get a single statewide franchise for their planned Internet television service instead of negotiating scores of agreements with individual cities, as cable companies do.

As more and more people ditch their telephone service for cell phones, SBC has been trying desperately to branch out into new services, and number one on their agenda is to compete with cable franchises. They attempted to have King attach the bills they sponsored to legislation reauthorizing the Public Utility Commission. Despite SBC lobbyists working all weekend, all the parties involved could just not agree before the deadline.

The sad part about the PUC bill dying is that King attempting to add his SBC legislation to it killed the entire bill. That means that good parts of the bill like wind power generation also won’t be established.

Though King said he will bring the bills back to the Legislature next session, it’s nice for once to see that large corporations that throw massive amounts of money and influence at an issue don’t always get their way. In addition, Save Muni Wireless showed how a grassroots effort to educate the public on a single issue can be accomplished by blogging. Congratulations to Adina Levin, Chip Rosenthal and the rest of the Save Muni Wireless crew on a job well done.

Comments are closed.

Terms of use | Privacy Policy | Content: Creative Commons | Site and Design © 2009 | Metroblogging ® and Metblogs ® are registered trademarks of Bode Media, Inc.