NEW CABLE TELEVISION BILL DRAWS OPPOSITION FROM CONSUMER GROUPS05/08/07 Robert Lorei
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Cable television subscribers who have been able to rely on their local governments to regulate service may soon be calling Tallahassee for help.
A bill that was passed by the Florida House and Senate late last week would take control away from local governments and turn it over to the state. Supporters believe it will help increase competition among television, telephone and Internet companies. That could lead to reduced customer rates. But opponents say the experience other states have had is that similar legislation does not redice rates and the legislation endangers PEG channels, the local governmnet, educational and public access channels now provided under local cable franchise agreements.
The bill, called the Consumer Choice Act of 2007, only needs Governor Charlie Crist’s signature to become law, which could happen next week. We’re joined now by And Brad Ashwell, who is with the Florida Public Interest Research Group in Tallahassee. Ashwell's group says the bill is bad for consumers.