Almost as if on cue, Representative Marsha Blackburn responded to the challenge noted below by Bill Owens. This morning she explained that her two priorities for work in the 109th Congress are competition (in telecom) and content. I'll say it again; check out the speech when the webcast is available.
Rep. Blackburn also discussed her views on a new streamlined franchise process for the video marketplace. I'll cede in a heartbeat that her proposal with Representative Wynn â€“ or her counterpart Sen. Ensign from across the Hill - would be a dramatic improvement. But, I did not hear a defense of having any franchise regulation. Franchises were an economic regulatory tool. Today we have competition with the added benefit of new entrants and investment. Unfortunately, we also have significant reliance interests who benefit from continuing regulation for regulation's sake. This begs the question, excepting right-of-way and public safety issues, why should we have any franchises in the multichannel video marketplace?