OH: The SB 117 hearing

Posted on April 26, 2007 - 10:06pm.

from: Callahan's Diary

The SB 117 hearing

Well, I just dragged my butt into the house after driving back from the “opponents and interested parties” hearing on Senate Bill 117, which lasted from 4 to 8 pm. First thing I saw was Jill’s post thanking me, Matt Zone, LVO et al. for what Openers reported as a “retreat” by the bill’s supporters on some key issues.

Jill, I wouldn’t get too grateful just yet.

It’s true the Energy and Public Utilities Committee got an earful, mostly from the cities. And it’s true that Senator Jacobson, the bill’s principal sponsor, wanted to impress on everyone that lots of the things they were alarmed about are going to get fixed. But I didn’t get the feeling that he’d included many of the real critics (the big cities, NATOA, the Alliance for Community Media, etc.) in that discussion. Let’s wait to see the amendments.

I’ll post my own testimony tomorrow. For now I want to mention my two favorite Things That Should Have Gotten The Committee To Sit Up And Take Notice, But Apparently Didn’t:

1. Gary Cavin, the Chief Information Officer of the City of Columbus, pointed out that his city has three competing cable companies, but Time Warner still charges just as much for basic cable there as it does in places with no competition.

2. A representative of Cleveland Heights reported that in their negotiations with AT&T over a local “video competition agreement”, AT&T frankly acknowledged that it didn’t plan to offer its U-Verse service in the (predominantly Black) part of the city closest to East Cleveland… which is why Cleveland Heights terminated the negotiation.

Added Wednesday morning, 4/25: Here’s my testimony on behalf of the Ohio Community Computing Network. Here’s the memo on potential neighborhood abandonment mentioned at the bottom of page 3. (Both are .doc files.)

Added Wednesday evening: For historical perspective on SB 117 and AT&T’s cable franchise history in Ohio, you can’t do better than this testimony presented by Bill Hanna of Walter and Haverfield.

( categories: OHIO | State Franchises )