House moves to aid telco TV

Republicans in the U.S. House have offered legislation aimed at easing the path for telephone carriers like Verizon and AT&T to enter the pay television business.

The proposed legislation would allow video providers to obtain a national license, known as a franchise, and would permit local authorities to continue collecting up to 5 percent of gross revenue, Reuters reported. The telcos have complained that it will take them years to obtain the necessary licenses from thousands of local authorities to offer video service, which is aimed at competing with cable companies.

With new competitors preparing to enter the ongoing race between cable and satellite, the law needs to be changed, according to House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX). Telephone carriers have been pressing to get into the video business as the cable companies have been encroaching on the telephone and high-speed, broadband Internet service business.

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