FCC Chairman Kevin Martin, in speeches over the past few weeks, has said local franchise authorities at times "obstruct and in some cases completely derail" new attempts to bring video competition to an area.
His proposal is backed by Verizon Communications Inc. and AT&T Inc., which have poured billions of dollars into rewiring their old telecommunications networks so they can deliver television programming and other services.
I think there's definitely something to his concerns. But this has the feel of a debate that will be completely changed in 10 years or so. It's not hard to picture a time in the near future when people get all their video entertainment over the internet, either for free or through subscriptions. Thus, trying to promote competition by allowing additional companies to offer traditional cable TV may only matter in the very short term.