California expected to OK video franchise legislation for telcos

California state senators struggled last week to ensure that promises of cheaper cable television rates and more viewing choices become reality if they let telecommunication companies such as AT&T and Verizon compete with existing cable companies, the Associated Press reported

One of the most heavily lobbied bills of the session, the legislation was given a good chance of passage after the state's cable television operators last week removed their opposition. The bill passed unanimously in the Assembly earlier this month.

It would allow telephone companies into the cable TV market and let them compete for franchise agreements issued by the state, rather than by cities or counties. The television companies are seeking a piece of California's $5.3 billion-a-year cable business, offering packages that bundle telephone, television and high-speed Internet service.