Thursday, November 02, 2006

Time-Warner Victory in Milwaukee

Well, at least it's a temporary victory.

Earlier, we blogged about the upcoming battle between ATT/SBC and Time-Warner over multi-functional TV/Internet/telephone services. Time-Warner has the Milwaukee franchise (and several others, including Brookfield). This franchise includes a handsome payment to the local Government, which means that a competitor is going to encounter a LOT of resistance from the tax-taker ruling class.

Sure enough, it's playing out:

Milwaukee aldermen moved Wednesday to restrict the large boxes AT&T Corp. plans to erect for its Internet television service.

Those boxes, more than 5 feet tall, will link the copper telephone wires that now serve each home to the fiber-optic cable that will carry the new service. Aldermen have voiced concern that curbside boxes will block the view of drivers and pedestrians.

The council's Steering & Rules Committee voted, 4-1, to recommend utilities seek approval from the alderman in the district in which a box will be placed. If the alderman refuses, the utility could appeal to a council committee.

The full council will consider the issue Nov. 14. Still unresolved is the larger question of whether the new television service can or should be regulated as cable television service is.

Perhaps these boxes are a "safety hazard," and perhaps they are not.

As to the "regulated" question--if ATT were to offer the City a bunch of money, you can bet that the "safety" question would suddenly be resolved...


James Wigderson said...

That's the point, isn't it? By requiring an individual alderman's approval for each box location, the alderman can hold ATT hostage until an appropriate campaign donation is paid.

Billiam said...

Ah, yes. Milwaukee is now Chicago North. Love that "clean" local government.

Dad29 said...

Of course, Wiggy. And yes, re-election is the only game in town.

Ask John Gard.