Academic journal article Federal Communications Law Journal

Does Video Delivered over a Telephone Network Require a Cable Franchise?

Academic journal article Federal Communications Law Journal

Does Video Delivered over a Telephone Network Require a Cable Franchise?

Article excerpt

  I. INTRODUCTION
 II. THE DEVELOPMENT OF CABLE SERVICES
     A. The Retransmission of Distant Broadcast Signals
     B. Local Franchising of Cable Systems
     C. The Emergence of Rival Programming Distributors and
        Vertical Integration into Programming by Cable
        Operators
     D. Consolidation of Cable Operators at both the National and
        Local Levels
III. THE DEVELOPMENT OF NON-CABLE SERVICES
     A. The Development of Cable Modem Service
     B. The Development of Cable Telephony and the Subsequent
        Movement toward Voice over Internet Protocol
     C. FCC and Court Rulings that Cable Modem Service and
       Cable Telephony are Not Cable Services
 IV. THE REGULATORY HISTORY OF CABLE SERVICE
     A. The Cable Communications Policy Act of 1984
        1. The Act as Protective Legislation for Incumbent Cable
           Operators
        2. The Act's Definition of Cable Service as One-Way
           Programming Comparable to Broadcast Television
     B. The Cable Television Consumer Protection and
        Competition Act of 1992
        1. The Attempt to Protect Consumers by Re-regulating
           Cable Television Rates and Ensuring Access of
           Affiliated Programming to Rival Programming
           Distributors
        2. The Absence of Any Change in the Definition of Cable
           Services
     C. The Telecommunications Act of 1996
        1. The Decision to Enhance Competition in Video
           Programming by Removing Barriers to Entry
        2. Expansion of the Definition of Cable Service, But Not
           in a Manner that Changed the Fundamental
           Understanding of It as a One-Way Service
  V. CASE STUDY: IP-ENABLED VIDEO SERVICE
     A. IP-Enabled Video Service over a Telephone Network as an
        Interstate Service
     B. IP-Enabled Video Service over a Telephone Network as an
        Interactive Service that is Controlled by the User
     C.  Other Critical Differences between IP-Enabled Video
         Service over a Telephone Network and Cable Service
 VI. ON PUBLIC POLICY GROUNDS, SHOULD VIDEO SERVICE
     PROVIDED OVER A TELEPHONE NETWORK BE TREATED AS
     CABLE SERVICE?
     A. The Consumer Welfare Gains from Price Reductions by
        Cable Operators in Response to Entry of Video over
        Telephone Networks
     B. The Excess Burden on Taxpayers from Imposition of
        Franchise Fees on Video Services Provided over
        Telephone Networks
     C. The Absence of Economic Justification for the Imposition
        of Additional Fees for a Telephone Company's Use of
        Rights-of-Way
     D. The Consumer-Welfare Justification for a Uniform
        National Approach to Video Franchising
     E. Public Policy Arguments of Cable Operators
VII. CONCLUSION

I. INTRODUCTION

Beginning around 2004, certain local telephone companies--most notably, AT&T (the former SBC) and Verizon--began to upgrade their local fiber networks to provide a bundle of services consisting of voice over Internet protocol ("VoIP"), digital video, and high-speed Internet access. Once the fiber upgrade is completed, a local telephone company will have the capability to offer multiple high-quality television streams that include high-definition television video ("HDTV") programming and video-on-demand for each household. These upgraded telephone networks will provide a third pipeline for the delivery of multi-channel video programming services to compete against cable television operators and direct broadcast satellites ("DBS"), and will provide a comprehensive service package in competition with cable's bundle of voice, video, and data services. In September 2005, the investment firm Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. predicted that by 2010 nearly forty percent of U.S. households will be able to get video service from their local telephone companies. (1)

Verizon has named its new fiber network "FIOS. …

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