Cable TV Consumer Protection Act
This is one in a series of hearings on the Cable TV Consumer Protection Act. Subcommittee members previously heard testimony from… read more
This is one in a series of hearings on the Cable TV Consumer Protection Act. Subcommittee members previously heard testimony from consumers.
The hearing started with opening remarks by Senators Inouye and Exon. Mr. Hunt said that competition is better than regulation for promoting customer service and technological advancements in the cable industry. He also said that the market is not biased in favor of telephone companies.
Mr. Collins said that the legislation was a quick fix and that a long term solution requires competition beyond regulation. He said that the limitations on telephone companies in regards to carrying cable programming. He said that lifting these limitations will increase competition without directly harming cable companies. He talked about the monopolies enjoyed by cable companies and noted that Congress at least should remove the legal disincentives against phone companies for entering cable. He defined the terms being used in the legislation.
Mr. Foster talked about the benefits of an integrated, broadband network. He said that legal restrictions needed to be removed to allow investment into broadband networks. He said that telephone companies are prohibited from packaging and marketing content developed entirely by others, which he said forced telephone companies to be passive transmitters of cable. He said that a common carrier network was optimum. He advocated for the ability of telephone companies to be allowed to compete for video transmission.
Mr. Gillett talked about the value and future of fiber optics as a vehicle for transmission. He said that information can be delivered through a combination of cable and telephone networks without using excessive amounts of fiber optics. He disagreed with the “fiber-to-the-home” plans for technical and economic reasons.
Mr. Verveer said that giving telephone companies an expanded role in the television business would lead to divestiture in the telephone companies. He said that rate based regulations of telephone companies would lead to misallocation of costs and discriminatory practices, making it unviable. He talked about the various scenarios of safeguards for the removal of cross ownership plans.
Mr. McLaughlin talked about the history of telecommunications monopolies. He focused on the viability of infrastructure changes and concluded that “fiber-to-the-home” was a poor choice economically and technologically. He said that government guided investment into information infrastructure would likely harm cable companies.
Mr. Cushing said that competition was the long term solution for lowering rates and expanding coverage. He said that such competition can exist if the obstacles to gaining a franchise were removed rather than mandating additional franchises be given.
Mr. Kompas represented the Community Broadcasters Association. He said that the legislation wrongly categorized community broadcasters with passive broadcasting networks that do not create their own programming. He said that the legislation should include community broadcast stations with the “must carry” channels.
Mr. Swander said that the legislation would not spur adequate competition. He said that market entry restrictions needed to be lifted to increase competition. He also said that limited franchising can be viable for increasing competition and entry into the market. close
*The transcript for this program was compiled from uncorrected Closed Captioning.
People in this video
- A. Gray Collins Jr. Executive Vice President Bell Atlantic
- Harry Cushing President Competitive Cable Association
- Kent Foster President GTE Corporation->Telephone Operations
- Daniel Garner Representative Advanced Communication Corporation
- Thomas Gillett Vice President Cable TV Laboratories
- Richard Hunt Vice President Huntel Systems
- John Kompas Partner Kompas-Biel Associates
- John McLaughlin Talk Show Host McLaughlin Group
- Robert Swander President Maxtel Cablevision
- Philip Verveer Partner Willkie, Farr and Gallagher
- Conrad Burns U.S. Senator [R] Montana
- John C. Danforth U.S. Senator [R] Missouri
- James Exon U.S. Senator [D] Nebraska
- Wendell H. Ford U.S. Senator [D] Kentucky
- Albert "Al" Gore Jr. U.S. Senator [D] Tennessee
- Daniel K. Inouye U.S. Senator [D] Hawaii
- John F. Kerry U.S. Senator [D] Massachusetts
- Bob Packwood U.S. Senator [R] Oregon
- Larry Pressler U.S. Senator [R] South Dakota
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