Thursday, December 21, 2006

Give Me The MONEY!! Says Milwaukee

Knock me over with a feather!

The City of Milwaukee filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday against AT&T that aims to require the company to negotiate a cable franchise agreement for its soon-to-be-offered Internet protocol video service.

Such an agreement would force the phone company to make an annual payment to the city, something that Time Warner Cable already does under its longstanding franchise agreement with the city

Seems to me that TimeWarner should be footing the bills for this lawsuit--but never mind...

Here's all you ever need to know:

Next year, Time Warner is to pay the city about $3.8 million.

You thought that Elm Grove was a bastion of conservatism, eh? You LOSE, sucker:

[Elm Grove] Village Manager Dave De Angelis said, "It's not that I think any of the communities want to leave AT&T out of the market or limit competition. In fact, we welcome competition. It's just that the playing field should be the same."

What he means is: "AT&T has to give us a bunch of money before we let them [kiss] us."

"Cable companies were given a huge financial incentive to build out communities - monopoly rights with freedom from competition,"

....after they paid bribes to the local Gummints. That's what it's all about, no?


Anonymous said...

Dad, you're missing some key points.

Reading the actual suit (which you can find at this site) it's clear that this is about a level playing field for the local citizens.

Please remember that when private entities use the right-of-way for services other than common carrier offerings, they're using your streets for private profit.

The purpose of requiring and collecting franchise fees (which most states collect from phone companies for regulated common carrier activities), is designed to act as a rent for the public property they use for private profit purposes.

I suspect that most people would like to be compensated when someone comes along and uses some of their property for private purposes.

As to AT&T's argument that their 1s and 0s are somehow different from a cable operator's 1s and 0s is difficult to believe (from an broadband engineering perspective, and from a legal the way, I'm a broadband engineer and an attorney, so I do have a broad perspective on this issue.)


Jonathan Kramer

Dad29 said...

Au contraire--YOU miss a key point.

AT&T is already paying for that use of the property, as you mention.

I don't think they should pay twice for the same usage--regardless of the 'shape' of their 1s and 0s.

Cable does not seek a 'level' playing field. They have engaged their Pig Government allies to sue for the purpose of raising the cost of doing business.

No different from the way in which JP Morgan, AP Hill, and JD Rockefeller operated.

Anonymous said...

Not to mention that AT&T is using the public (that means our) right-of-way for private profit while not even planning to make their private service available to all of us who pay to keep up the right-of-way for the common good? So some of us have to pay to subsidize AT&T's profits without even being able to buy the supposed service....... that's not worth even one extra penny on my tax bill.

Dad29 said...

Umnnnhhh..Karen, AT&T plans to have 50% of the Greater Milwaukee area 'wired' in the next year. They are not so certain about the remaining 50%.

You pay for maintenance of right-of-way for telephone services (which I suspect you use.) In point of fact there is NO need to pay more to add ATT's "cable" service.

That's the whole point of the post.

Anonymous said...

If AT&T isn't putting more stuff in the right-of-way for this new cable service of theirs, then what are those new, huge, line-of-sight-blocking, cable service boxes they are installing for?

Dad29 said...

First off, Karen, have you SEEN these "line-of-sight" blocking boxes? I have--on 85th St., just north of North Avenue.

The alarmism in your comment reflects the political twist of certain Milwaukee aldermen, whose entire play is oriented towards obtaining campaign donations from AT&T in exchange for "permission" to install those boxes.

So it's not a safety issue; it's a money issue.

That's Number One.

Number Two: those boxes do NOT require additional "city-provided maintenance." Period. The mythology here is stunning.

But I'll be enlightened if you tell me exactly which New & Costly city services will be required due to these "line-of-sight" blocking boxes.

By the way, I drive. The boxes are no more a hazard than are postal storage-boxes, city sand/salt storage boxes, or Transit Company shelters.

Really, Karen, I expected a bit more from you than that...

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