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[Discuss] Competition of broadband

On 12/02/2011 07:44 PM, Richard Pieri wrote:
> I see that Bill H. says that TV service isn't an issue for him, but it is one. In fact, TV service is the root of how broadband is deployed in Massachusetts.
> Back in the 1970s, when cable TV was new around here, the MA legislature decided to leave service carrier choice up to individual cities and towns.  Most towns then proceeded to pick one exclusive provider, granting the chosen providers a limited monopoly.  The primary reason for this is so that all residents have comparable TV service, particularly in the community access TV channels.  Two different cable companies wouldn't necessarily share community access facilities, after all, thus most towns picked one provider.  My town happened to pick Continental Cablevision.
> Then Cablevision's assets in MA were acquired by MediaOne.  These assets were acquired in turn by Southwestern Bell along with several other cable companies back in 1999 or thenabouts.  The collected assets were branded "AT&T Broadband".  This marked the end of cable TV competition in MA.  Comcast acquired all of AT&T Broadband when SBC divested itself of the TV/broadband services.
> This is what many of us are stuck with.  Comcast lobbies the various local governments where it operates with this tactic, "demonstrating" how competing cable TV providers would be detrimental to their communities.  Mayor Tom in particular is very, very "convinced" by Comcast's lobbying efforts.
I believe that AT&T Broadband was divested by AT&T before Southwestern 
Bell acquired AT&T.

In any case, the issue today is that TV, Broadband, and Telephone are, 
in essence, much different today than in the past. Back during 
deregulation, the electric power monopolies were broken up into delivery 
companies (eg. NSTAR), and generation companies. (For instance Pilgrim 
Nuke is owned by Entergy). However, there was a time when broadband 
companies were required to use their cables to allow other services, 
such as Earthlink over Comcast. Additionally, phone and cable companies 
are handled differently.. Verizon is a phone provider who offers TV and 
Internet services, and Comcast is a Cable TV company that offers phone 
and Internet services. Additionally, electircal power companies could 
also use their cables to provide services, but federal law prohibits 
that from back in the days when AT&T was the only phone company.

The bottom line is there is a hodgepodge of old laws on the books.

Jerry Feldman<gaf at>
Boston Linux and Unix
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