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Summary: This legislation would allow certain cable and video service providers which currently hold “municipal franchises” to seek a State Issued Certificate of Franchise Authority (SICFA).
Analysis: Currently, due to legislation passed by the 79th legislature, cable and video providers which have contracts in certain municipalities are prohibited from seeking state-wide service franchise authority before the expiration of the municipal contract. Cable operators successfully argued in federal court that allowing new entrants into the market the opportunity for to be granted a SICFA while established companies were locked into contracts and therefore unable to seek a SICFA constituted unequal treatment under the law. This legislation would effectively codify the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals decision and allow established cable operators to break their municipal contracts in order to obtain a SICFA.
This legislation is good for free markets because it allows for greater competition. We support this legislation.