Today in Virginia, Cable companies face intense competition in the telecommunications market from Verizon, DirecTV, DISH Network and CenturyLink. In light of this competition, legislative and regulatory policies must be technology neutral. These equitable policies will further spur investment and deployment. Federal law prohibits local governments from granting exclusive franchise rights to one cable provider. As a result of this competition, a wide array of new services – both video and non-video – are available to consumers over several alternative broadband platforms, including cable, telephone, wireless and satellite.
The cable industry introduced high-speed internet access service to Virginia consumers and it remains a leader in the broadband marketplace. Since 2000, the Virginia cable industry has invested more than $3 billion in facilities and equipment serving thousands of communities across the Commonwealth. As a result of this massive private investment, availability and adoption of high-speed internet access services have increased consistently as have the speeds offered to customers In 2015, the cable industry rolled out 1 gig cable modems widely.
Policies That Ensure Fair Competition
Technology neutral taxes
Competitively bid state contracts
Light Regulatory Policies
Equal access to Rights-of-Way (ROW)
Equitable Cable Franchises
Regulatory policies should promote, and not undermine, the private investment necessary to encourage deployment. For example, just and reasonable pole attachment policies and access to rights-of-way to ensure that essential facilities are available to broadband providers. Any rules and regulations should apply to all providers on a level playing field and should be technology neutral. Fair competition can only exist if all providers are taxed and regulated equally no matter how they deliver their product via land line, wireless, satellite, etc. Such policies will promote broadband deployment and true parity among telecommunication providers.