California has joined a number of states in issuing statewide cable television franchises, a move that will probably leave small towns even further out in the cold. The telephone and cable companies, who both supported this bill, claim that it will increase competition and result in lower pricing.
Who do they think they're kidding? Why on earth would a company support a law that forces them to compete harder? The simple answer is that they're lying. This law removes cable television franchising from the intense scrutiny of the cities and places it far removed from them in Sacramento. Small towns may have to fight an endless battle with the state when a cabe television provider acts up as opposed to simply kicking them out of town.
Cable companies will now be able to sneakily cherry-pick neighborhoods, avoid rolling out comparable services to rural areas, and increase their monopoly powers by creating a maze of state regulations that only cash-laden companies can navigate. That's always been the intent of these bills, and leave it to crazy California to take the bait hook, line, and sinker.
These unscrupulous and monopolistic behaviors make it more and more apparent that we cannot depend on the incumbent carriers to make good on their promises of better service at lower prices. The only way left to get real competition is through municipal fiber projects like UTOPIA that bring in competitors on an even footing.