Sunday, June 5, 2005

SBC Seeks "Light Touch" Regulatory Policy for IPTV

In an address at SUPERCOMM 2005, Forrest E. Miller, SBC group president and top public policy executive, outlined his wishes for a "light touch" regulatory framework for IPTV services. SBC believes that a minimal regulatory environment would attract new competitors and encourage the deployment of new technologies in a TV video market dominated by cable companies.

SBC's policy framework consists of three principles:

  • First, video policy should expand consumer video choice as rapidly as possible. Just as cable and other new entrants to the voice market do not face the obligations of incumbent voice providers, SBC argues that new-entrant video providers should not face the same franchising and build-out requirements as incumbent cable companies. To facilitate competition, new entrants should be allowed to use whatever technology or combination of technologies best enables them to compete - and entry barriers, like cumbersome franchising processes, should be minimized.

  • Second, video policy should encourage investment in new technology and broadband networks.

  • Third, video policy should embrace core public interest objectives, like localism and community access, but flexibility should be provided in how new entrants meet these objectives. Importantly, there should be an orderly transition to a fair and rational fee system that reflects the converged nature of telecommunications services and is revenue-neutral to cities.

"We see video as the next great frontier for competitive telecommunications," Miller said. "Consumers want more choice in video. There must be a consistent voice from industry in advocating rules that serve the public interest - to bring new services, new infrastructure and competitive prices faster."


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